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Jimmy Savile: How could his crimes go unnoticed?
LONDON (AP) - Jimmy Savile was one of the best-known faces on British television. So how was he able to become one of the country’s worst child sex predators without ever being caught?
Since the revelations began earlier this month, it’s become clear that victims raised the alarm, police were aware of the allegations and journalists suspected that something was up.
Here’s a look at a few points where Savile’s abuse might have been stopped.
IN THE 1960S:
When Savile was a dance hall manager in the northern England city of Leeds, his predatory behavior was already known. In a recent article published in the Mail Online, biographer Dan Davies said one of Savile’s co-workers at the time joked that the entertainer “was either going to be a huge success or in prison” for having sex with 14-year-old girls.
When Savile found work with the BBC, senior management became suspicious. Corporation press officer Rodney Collins said in a recent interview with the BBC that he was told by his then-boss that he had “heard things about Jimmy Savile” and underage girls. The boss asked Collins to check with his newspaper contacts; Collins got gossip, but no evidence. Collins said his journalist friends told him at the time the gossip would probably never come to light “whether true or not.”
IN OR AROUND 1975:
Savile’s great-niece, Caroline Robinson, told her grandmother she was sexually abused by Savile at a family party. Robinson, who was 12 at the time, was interviewed by the ITV television network earlier this week. She said her late grandmother shrugged off the abuse, telling her: “It’s only Jimmy, don’t worry …”
IN THE 1980S:
Sunday Mirror editor Paul Connew met with two women who alleged abuse by Savile. Connew said he found their testimony compelling, but said the alleged victims were afraid of the clout of an entertainer who had rubbed shoulders with royalty and had been honored by the Vatican.
“One of them said memorably: `Who’s going to believe us in the witness box against Jimmy Savile? He’s friends with Prince Charles, Princess Diana … he’s been blessed by the pope,’” Connew said. He told The Associated Press that Britain’s strict defamation laws meant that he was left with little to run with. “They had to be prepared to go on the record and face what would’ve been an almost certain libel action from Savile,” he said.
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