Jimmy Savile: Thompson’s Office ‘Was Warned’

Sky News – Oct 28, 2012

The Jimmy Savile child abuse allegations were flagged up to the office of former BBC boss Mark Thompson at least twice, according to new claims.

The then director-general’s office was formally alerted by journalist Miles Goslett in May and by an ITV email in September, The Sunday Times reports.

According to the paper, his aides were told on both occasions that the allegations concerned Savile’s alleged abuse of minors on BBC premises.

Mr Thompson, who has since left the BBC and is about to start a job as chief executive of The New York Times, denies he was ever personally informed.

Mr Goslett is said to have spoken to Jessica Cecil, the head of Mr Thompson’s office and asked to speak to him about allegations that Savile had molested underage girls on BBC premises.

Ms Cecil told Mr Goslett to speak to the press office and said she did not tell Mr Thompson of the allegations.

A BBC spokesman said: “Jessica Cecil’s firm recollection of this brief call is she advised the journalist to put their points to the BBC press office. She then informed the BBC’s director of communications about the call.”

A spokesman for Mr Thompson said: “Mark was not aware of the conversation between Miles Goslett and Jessica Cecil on May 18, 2012. He was on holiday at the time and this brief conversation was not relayed to him, either then or subsequently.”

On September 7, ITV is reported to have contacted Mr Thompson’s office with detailed questions about its findings based on interviews with 10 victims. 

Again, Mr Thompson was not informed.

The former BBC chief has previously said he was neither “notified nor briefed” about details of Newsnight’s investigation into the Jim’ll Fix It star which was later controversially dropped.

He later told reporters he had “formed the impression it [the Newsnight investigation] was about sex abuse” after a conversation at a party but when he called the news department he was told it had been axed for editorial reasons.

Police have now described Savile, who died in 2011, as a sexual predator who could be one of the worst paedophiles the UK has ever seen.

Hundreds of people have come forward claiming to be his victims. Around 130 have so far been questioned. A further 114 assault claims have been made.

Amid major questions about the culture at the BBC and its decision not to proceed with the Newsnight programme on Savile, the corporation has ordered three inquiries.

The chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, has said he is dedicated to getting to the bottom of the scandal, vowing there would be “no covering our backs”.

He wrote in the Mail on Sunday that the broadcaster “must tell the truth and face up to the truth about itself, however terrible”.

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