|BBC squirms under glare of sexual abuse scandal
Just weeks after apologizing to the Queen over a report by security correspondent Frank Gardner who was sounded too frank on radio revealing a private conversation with the monarch, the BBC once again finds itself red-faced – this time over more allegations of sexual abuse by a TV and radio presenter at the state-funded broadcaster.
A media report said today that two women have revealed more allegations of sexual abuse by the late Sir Jimmy Savile, who died last year.
The Guardian newspaper reports that one alleged victim waived her anonymity to describe how she and a friend were allegedly molested by the Jim'll Fix It star in the 1970s when they were 14.
In a statement seen on its website, the BBC was forced to say: “We are horrified by allegations that anything of this sort could have happened at the BBC – or have been carried out by anyone working for the BBC. They are allegations of a serious criminal nature which the police have the proper powers to investigate."
BBC is also battling condemnation that Newsnight program had been ordered to halt an investigation into the criminal allegations and that it withheld information from police. Newsnight editor Peter Rippon appeared frustrated in a statement that said “allegations are untrue and despite consistent strong denials keep getting repeated".
The Guardian cites one of the alleged victims, Dee Coles as telling ITV News that she and her friend were made to perform sex acts on Savile in a camper van during a holiday in Jersey. “He didn't seem like a stranger. He was on our telly every Saturday night. It was exciting – with someone on TV," said Coles. “How it made me feel at the time? Immense panic as soon as the door locked. Afterwards, it was shame."
The two women spoke out yesterday, The Guardian reports, after at least three others waived their anonymity to say they were sexually assaulted by Savile. Up to 10 other women have told an ITV documentary, to be broadcast today, that they suffered or witnessed abuse by Savile. Scotland Yard received a further historic rape allegation relating to Savile as it emerged that police in both Surrey and Jersey had previously investigated accusations made against him, but decided there was insufficient evidence to act, the paper reports today.
Coles said Savile had locked the camper van door before making her put her hands down his trousers and perform two different sex acts. She urged any other alleged victims of Savile to come forward and report the alleged abuse, The Guardian reports. “The compassionate side of me says he was obviously a man who needed some help. The gut reaction is to say there was something quite evil about him. I was that 14 year old, upset at what he was making me do … There's no way I wanted to do it. I knew he was a bad man,’’ Coles said
The second woman making fresh allegations, Karin Ward – who also waived her anonymity – will tell ITV News that she told Newsnight last year that she saw Gary Glitter having sex with an underage girl in Savile's dressing room at BBC Television Centre and that she was abused by another TV star when she was 14 years old in that same room, The Guardian reports. The two women's testimony will be broadcast by ITV News tonight, before an hour-long documentary entitled Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile.