Report finds BBC allowed sexual offenders to operate with impunity

New report on sexual abuse at the BBC
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    New report on sexual abuse at the BBC


New report on sexual abuse at the BBC 02:20

Story highlights

  • A report says the BBC investigated allegations of corruption but not complaints from young girls
  • The BBC missed five opportunities to stop sexual predators Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall, it says
  • DJ Tony Blackburn says he has been fired because his testimony did not jibe with that of BBC officials

London (CNN)Despite their serial child abuse and sexual offenses, British television personalities Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall were allowed to operate within the BBC with impunity between 1959 and 2006, a damning report has found.

As she presented her independent review Thursday, Dame Janet Smith called the reaction of the BBC to allegations of misconduct "illuminating."
    "It investigated allegations of corruption but did not investigate complaints from young girls," she said.
    She called Savile and Hall "serial sexual predators" and said the BBC missed five opportunities to stop their misconduct, which persisted for decades.
    The BBC commissioned the report by Dame Janet, a former High Court judge, in 2012, to look at its culture and practices and and culture during the period that Savile was employed there -- from the mid-1960s until 2007.

    BBC employees afraid to report Savile to their superiors

    The answer, Dame Janet said, was that they were poor: People knew that Savile was a sexual predator but were afraid to report it to their superiors.
    Savile, a longtime television host and celebrity, was considered a national treasure during his lifetime. He died in 2011 at the age of 84.
    Since then, hundreds of complaints of sexual assault have been made against Savile. According to police, three-quarters of his alleged victims were under 18, and they included one as young as 8.
    And Stuart Hall, a former BBC television host and sports commentator, pleaded guilty in 2013 to indecently assaulting 13 girls between the ages of 9 and 17 over a 20-year period. He was sentenced to 1½ years in prison and was recently released after serving less than half his sentence.

    Fired BBC DJ denies 'any misconduct'

    There was another BBC casualty this week, apparently as a result of the latest investigation: Disc jockey Tony Blackburn said he had been fired as a result of testimony he gave.
    Blackburn said allegations were made against him by the mother of a 15-year-old girl -- allegations he said were false. The girl later committed suicide.
    According to a statement Blackburn posted on Twitter, the BBC presented evidence to Dame Janet to the effect that, following the allegation, Blackburn had been interviewed about it by a senior BBC manager and a lawyer.
    But, Blackburn said, he was never interviewed by either the manager or the lawyer and told that to the latest inquiry, thereby embarrassing BBC officials.
    "Dame Janet's report makes no suggestion that I was guilty 45 years ago of any misconduct with this girl," Blackburn said in his Twitter statement. "... The BBC have made clear that they are not terminating my relationship with them because of any misconduct. They are destroying my career and reputation because my version of events does not tally with theirs."