Report into BBC child-sex probe due

Agence France-Presse
The BBC on Wednesday, December 19, intends to publish a key report into its handling of the child-sex abuse claims against late presenter Jimmy Savile that plunged the broadcaster into crisis

Image courtesy of the BBC.

LONDON, United Kingdom – The BBC on Wednesday, December 19, intends to publish a key report into its handling of the child-sex abuse claims against late presenter Jimmy Savile that plunged the broadcaster into crisis.

The Pollard report will address the corporation’s decision to pull an investigation carried out in 2011 by Newsnight, its flagship news program, into the flamboyant former DJ due to be aired after his death.

The report, written by former head of Sky News Nick Pollard, was presented to acting director general Tim Davie on Tuesday, and the broadcaster hopes to publish it in full on Wednesday, December 19, Thursday, December 20 at the latest.

The BBC denies accusations it axed the Newsnight report because it clashed with planned tributes to Savile following his 2011 death.

The broadcaster in October announced separate inquiries into the scandal.

Ex-judge Janet Smith is leading a probe into the “culture and practices of the BBC” during the years Savile worked there and is expected to publish her findings next year.

Savile is a suspect in 199 crimes, including 31 allegations of rape, police said last week, adding that the scale of his alleged crimes was “unprecedented” in Britain.

Ten weeks after Scotland Yard began investigating claims that Savile was a pedophile, the London force confirmed that 589 people had come forward with information, of which 450 related to Savile, mainly alleging sex abuse.

The claims span four decades — the first dating back to 1959.

The corporation was also on Wednesday expected to release a separate report into the Newsnight report on November 2 which wrongly implicated former Tory lawmaker Lord McAlpine in child sex abuse claims, but may delay publication.

“We would like to get it out at the same time, but nothing has been confirmed as to whether it will be at the same time or later,” a source told the Guardian.

The scandal forced the resignation of director-general George Entwistle, just 54 days into the job, and left the organization struggling to regain public trust.

The investigation into Savile was prompted by claims made by five women on a television documentary on October 4.

It has since spawned 12 other inquiries or related reviews both into Savile himself — by the BBC and other authorities — and into unrelated sexual offenses, such as abuse at a Welsh children’s care home and child abuse by late lawmaker Cyril Smith.

Ten people have been arrested so far, including convicted pedophile and former glam rocker Gary Glitter and comedian Freddie Starr. – Agence France-Presse