Sir Jimmy Savile has been accused of raping and otherwise sexually abusing young girls.
In a documentary to be shown next Wednesday on ITV, a number of women will claim that the celebrity abused them when they were in their early teens. Although a complaint was made to police in 2007, four years before Savile died at the age of 84, no further action was taken.
The allegations are that he abused young girls in a variety of locations: hospitals, schools and BBC buildings. Why hospitals and schools? Because, of course, Sir Jimmy was well known for his fundraising activities.
In a statement, the BBC said that it …
… has conducted extensive searches of its files to establish whether there is any record of misconduct or allegations of misconduct by Sir Jimmy Savile during his time at the BBC. No such evidence has been found.
“Whilst the BBC condemns any behaviour of the type alleged in the strongest terms, in the absence of evidence of any kind found at the BBC that corroborates the allegations that have been made it is simply not possible for the corporation to take any further action.
Do you find all this as creepy as I do?
Substitute the name Father Brendan Smyth for Sir Jimmy Savile.
Substitute the word Churches for BBC buildings.
Substitute the Catholic Bishops for the BBC.
Is there some difference?
Two men, both above reproach in the public eye, visiting hospitals and schools.
Two ancient hierarchical institutions interested in protecting themselves above all else.
We don’t know if Jimmy Savile committed these crimes or not, but back in 1975, few people thought a priest of the church was capable of such things either, and that was why all the abused were disbelieved. A thorough investigation would have prevented further crimes, but instead, Fr Seán Brady swore the abused children to secrecy. I will say this, however. I never liked Jimmy Savile. It wasn’t the silly hair. It wasn’t the cigar. It wasn’t the Rolls-Royce. It wasn’t the fact that he was too old to have been a DJ in the 60s.
It was because his eyes didn’t smile.
Jimmy used to appear on the Late Late Show and lap up the glory as Gay Byrne fawned on him, but essentially, taking away the beard and the dog collar, he was a secular version of Father Michael Cleary, the singing priest and general all-purpose hypocrite.
Sir James explained to his friends that he didn’t own a computer in case anyone would think he might be downloading child pornography. Is that disturbing? Why would it even occur to him that anyone would suspect him of doing that? I’d be very worried about any man who said such a thing.
There are suggestions that “stories” circulated in the BBC about Savile’s conduct. One employee reported being shocked to walk into the star’s dressing room and find him having sex with a young teenager. Similar rumours circulated among the Catholic clergy who worked with all our home grown abusers, and a similar mindset prevailed. Ignore this and it will go away.
Did that happen with Jimmy Savile? Did the BBC behave exactly like the Catholic church? Did Jim fix it?
Maybe this is how all large hierarchical organisations react when faced with an unpalatable reality.
Jimmy Savile defends Gary Glitter: What’s Gary Glitter done wrong? Well nothing really