Warnings about hospital sex crimes of UK star Savile ignored: official reports

Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:05am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Warnings about Jimmy Savile, the late BBC TV presenter revealed two years ago to have been one of Britain's most prolific sex offenders, who preyed on victims at hospitals where he volunteered, were ignored, official reports said on Thursday.

Three years ago, police said Savile, one of the Britain's best-known celebrities in the 1970s and 1980s, had abused hundreds of victims, mainly youngsters, at hospitals and at BBC premises over six decades until his death aged 84 in 2011.

New reports into his activities on Thursday revealed he had abused 60 people at Stoke Mandeville hospital, the birthplace of the Paralympic games, between 1969 and 1992, and despite it being an "open secret" that he was a "lecher," nothing was done.

There were 10 complaints made about his behavior, although only one was official. The informal complaints were neither taken seriously nor escalated, said Androulla Johnstone, lead investigator for one of the reports, while the formal one was dropped by the complainant’s father due to her serious ill health.

"The individuals to whom these incidents were reported failed in their duty to protect," Johnstone told reporters.

"Consequently, no intelligence about Savile’s behavior was gathered over the years and no action was taken."

The reports said Savile had used his fame and charitable work to get unsupervised access to patients, raping and sexually abusing boys, girls, men and women aged between five and 75 in wards, corridors and offices.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)

Reports into sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile at Stoke Mandeville hospital are seen before a news conference in central London February 26, 2015.  REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth