One of the UK’s leading lawyers fighting child abuse claims the BBC’s failure to act on allegations concerning broadcaster Sir Jimmy Savile mirrors the cover up of similar incidents in the Catholic church.
The hard-hitting allegation comes from Manchester-based Peter Garsden, and follows a revealing ITV 1 documentary.
Mr Garsden said: “The media splurge on Jimmy Savile is too little too late. It is alleged that he had been abusing young girls for many years under the noses of various figures of authority, who were so under the Savile spell that they were reluctant to blow the whistle. He had become so involved with charity and done so much good work to help them that no one wanted to burst the bubble. It is typical of the history of cover ups we have heard about over the years that this secret has remained unpublished for so many years. We have seen it in the Catholic Church, and now at the BBC.”
In the documentary aired on Wednesday 3rd October detailed testimonies were given by women who claim they were sexually abused by Savile when they were schoolgirls. A number of alleged victims were interviewed as part of the documentary amid growing allegations against the late DJ and presenter. Two of the alleged victims said they first had sexual relations with the Leeds-born TV and radio personality when they were 15 – with a number of the alleged indecent acts taking place in his dressing room at BBC Television Centre in London. The BBC said it will assist police with investigations into the child abuse claims surrounding the presenter.
Mr. Garsden, whose company represents child abuse victims across the UK, says victims should report their abuse to the police in an effort to at least tell someone in authority what has been going on even though their alleged abuser is no longer alive.
“It is not rocket science that if a grown adult is able to seek the confidence of a young child, and perform abusive acts upon him or her, then that same abuser is also able to keep the abusive act a secret for so long by threats, grooming, manipulation, and fear,” said the lawyer. “It is typical of any abuse that the subterfuge employed by the abuser is sophisticated and clever. Abusers are not dirty old men with greasy hair, long raincoats, and an obviously weird nature. Sadly, they appear as normal as you and me. They are usually charming, relaxed with children, and interested in childlike pursuits. This is how they get under the skin of the children they abuse, win their confidence with gifts, treats and ‘something special.’ Jimmy Savile was a larger than life character and would therefore have appealed to children, when he looned about and acted daft.”
Mr Garsden believes that if enough victims come forward a class or group action could be started against the BBC or the estate of Jimmy Savile. The BBC undoubtedly had a duty of care to those visiting their premises and it appears that there was constructive knowledge of what was going on and as such negligence. Even though Jimmy Savile has been dead for over a year, it is not too late to bring proceedings against his estate on behalf of the girls involved, he adds. The school where Savile preyed upon young girls may also be to blame.
Speaking about possible legal action Peter Garsden said: “Whether anything will come of these allegations remains to be seen. They should certainly seek advice, if nothing else. There is no doubt from the reports I have read that the behaviour of Savile has affected the lives of these girls who are now women, and that they should be compensated for their losses. At the very least, they should be allowed to speak their truth and be heard.”