Nov 14, 2012 | Joe Quinn
Over the last six weeks, the revelations that long-term BBC personality and 'household name' Sir Jimmy Savile was in fact a long-term child abuser have gripped and horrified the British public.
The vast majority of the British public knew Jimmy Savile as an eccentric, yet highly regarded, former TV children's show presenter and charity fundraiser. Savile's career began in the 1958 as a DJ for Radio Luxembourg. In 1968 he joined BBC Radio 1, where he presented Savile's Travels. From 1969 to 1973 he fronted Speakeasy, a discussion programme for teenagers. In 1964, he began presenting the first edition of the BBC music chart television programme Top of the Pops. Savile also hosted other BBC television programs, the most notable of which was children's show Jim'll Fix It, which he presented from 1975 to 1994. Because of the nature of the programs he hosted and his high-profile charity work, throughout his career, Savile was surrounded by children of different ages.
Mark Williams-Thomas is the detective-turned-reporter who first publicly exposed Jimmy Savile as a prolific sex offender in early October 2012 on the ITV program 'Exposure'. William-Thomas, who is currently making a second program that will further investigate Savile's abuses, recently stated that the evidence he has gathered suggests that Savile engineered his entire career so that he could molest youngsters:
"In the previous programme it was unclear what came first," he said. "But I can very clearly tell you now that he created his television series as a vehicle for his offending.In the weeks since the Exposure program was aired, dozens of individuals who claim they were abused in some way by Savile have come forward. Police have stated that Savile may have sexually abused up to 300 children over his 40-year career. The abuse took place at a children's home patronized by Savile and others, on outside broadcasts, at hospitals, etc. In addition, many of the abused children (now adults) have claimed that they were molested and assaulted by Savile and other BBC celebrities on BBC premises. Former and current BBC presenters and employees have stated that during Savile's heyday at the BBC, many people at the corporation were aware of Savile's molestation of children but that it was rationalised away as 'Jimmy just being Jimmy'. Another BBC star, '70s singer 'Gary Glitter' was convicted in the UK 1997 for downloading child pornography, and in Vietnam in March 2006 for 'obscene acts' with two girls aged 11 and 12 and jailed. Glitter returned to London in August 2008 after his release from prison. In 2009 Savile defended Glitter by saying: "If you said to that copper, what's Gary Glitter done wrong? Well nothing really. He's just sat at home watching dodgy films."
"I believe he engineered his programmes within the BBC and Radio Luxembourg in order to gain access to children.
"The classic examples are Top of the Pops, Savile's Travels, Jim'll Fix It - all of them gave him access to young children. That's why there were so many victims."
Savile's star status combined with his universally lauded charity fundraising (he raised £40 million over the years) made him 'untouchable' in his own words. It also gave him full access to the hospitals, children's homes and other institutions that benefitted from his fundraising work. For example, Savile had his own bedroom at Stoke Mandeville hospital and the freedom of Leeds General Infirmary. The evidence to date suggests that Savile was using this open access to hospitals to prey on mentally and physically disabled children. Several doctors have also been implicated. Last month, a disabled woman, Caroline Moore, said that in 1971, when she was 13, Savile had forcibly "shoved his tongue down [her] throat" while she was sitting in her wheelchair following an operation. Another woman, June Thornton, described witnessing a serious sexual assault on another patient she believed to be brain damaged.
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