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British police make first arrest in Savile investigation

By the CNN Wire Staff
October 28, 2012 -- Updated 1837 GMT (0237 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • British media say that the man arrested was 1970s pop star Gary Glitter
  • Police say they arrested a London man on suspicion of sexual offenses
  • They are investigating after a documentary detailed allegations of sexual abuse against Savile
  • Savile's nephew: "I watched the program in horror"

(CNN) -- British police investigating abuse claims against disgraced TV host Jimmy Savile arrested a London man Sunday on suspicion of sexual offenses.

Police did not release the suspect's name, but said the man they arrested falls under the "Savile and others" strand of their investigation. The man was later released on bail.

British media reported that the man arrested was 1970s pop star Gary Glitter.

A TV documentary a month ago detailed allegations of sexual abuse against Savile. Police investigating the scandal are dealing with about 300 apparent victims, Cmdr. Peter Spindler told reporters.

Savile's favored targets were apparently girls in their mid-teens in what Spindler said was "alleged abuse on an unprecedented scale."

British radio disc jockey, television star and charity fund-raiser Sir Jimmy Savile poses for a photo at Buckingham Palace, London, after receiving the Order of the British Empire in 1972. Since his death a year ago at age 84, Savile has been knocked off his perch as a national treasure, accused of being a predatory pedophile who used his fame and position to abuse youngsters, sometimes on BBC premises. British radio disc jockey, television star and charity fund-raiser Sir Jimmy Savile poses for a photo at Buckingham Palace, London, after receiving the Order of the British Empire in 1972. Since his death a year ago at age 84, Savile has been knocked off his perch as a national treasure, accused of being a predatory pedophile who used his fame and position to abuse youngsters, sometimes on BBC premises.
The life of Jimmy Savile
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Photos: The life of Jimmy Savile Photos: The life of Jimmy Savile
The BBC's shameful scandal
Cops: Savile a predatory sexual offender
NY Times' connection to BBC scandal

The British TV icon died in October 2011 at age 84. But authorities have said they are preparing an arrest strategy for others, still living, against whom allegations have been made in connection with the Savile case.

Profile: Idolized in life, reviled in death

Countless Britons who grew up watching Savile on TV's "Top of the Pops" and his children's program "Jim'll Fix It" have been left reeling by the slew of claims against him in the past month.

The reputation of the British Broadcasting Corporation, his former employer, has also been tainted by the scandal amid questions over how his abuse went undetected, and its decision to drop a program investigating allegations him last year.

"Now the BBC risks squandering public trust because one of its stars over three decades was apparently a sexual criminal; because he used his programme and popularity as a cover for his wickedness; because he used BBC premises for some of his attacks; and because others -- BBC employees and hangers-on -- may also have been involved," BBC Chairman Lord Patten wrote in an editorial published Sunday in the Daily Mail.

The BBC has said it is horrified by the revelations and has launched two independent inquiries.

How scandal has rocked BBC

Sunday's arrest comes a day after Savile's family made its first public statement since a slew of claims of sexual abuse of under-age girls destroyed the reputation of a man they had regarded as a hero.

Savile's nephew, Roger Foster, had defended his late uncle -- who hosted shows watched and heard by a generation of young Britons -- in a newspaper interview before the allegations emerged in a TV documentary a month ago.

But as those few claims snowballed into hundreds, the family had to face up to the horrific truth: that the man they were so proud of as a media star and tireless charity fundraiser had a far darker side to his past.

"I watched the program in horror and could not believe that these allegations were about our uncle. This wasn't the man we knew and loved," Foster said. "We began to have doubts as to our own feeling towards our uncle. How could the person we thought we knew and loved do such a thing?

"Why would a man who raised so much money for charity, who gave so much of his own time and energy for others risk it all doing indecent criminal acts? How could anyone live their life doing the 'most good and most evil' at the same time?"

CNN's Laura Smith-Spark and Per Nyberg contributed to this report.

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