UK: 300 potential Savile abuse victims emerge
Jimmy Savile, derecha, posa junto a una figura de cera en el museo Madame Tussauds de Londres en una fotografía del 17 de diciembre de 1986. La policía británica informó el jueves 25 de octubre de 2012 que habría hasta 300 víctimas potenciales de abusos sexuales supuestamente cometidos por Savile. (Foto AP/John Redman, archivo)
LONDON (AP) — The scale of the child sex abuse scandal engulfing the BBC expanded on Thursday as authorities announced that 300 potential victims had come forward with accusations against one of the broadcaster's most popular children's entertainers and that others might have acted with him.
The scandal swirling around one of Britain's most respected news organizations also prompted a spirited defense from New York Times chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. of the paper's incoming CEO, the former top executive of the BBC.
In a letter to staff, Sulzberger said he was satisfied that Mark Thompson, who was the BBC's director general until last month, had no role in the decision to scrap an investigative segment about the abuse allegations against the late Jimmy Savile.
The well-known children's TV and radio host is accused of using his fame to coerce teens into having sex with him in his car, his camper and even in dressing rooms on BBC premises.
Police Commander Peter Spindler, head of the Scotland Yard inquiry into the scandal, said Thursday that 300 potential victims had come forward so far and even more were expected to contact authorities. He said all but two of the cases involved girls and that detectives had interviewed 130 people.
The police commander acknowledged he had been stunned by the volume of abuse allegations reported to his team of 30 officers in the three weeks since accusations about Savile's activities first came to public attention.
"It is quite staggering, the number of women ... and this is primarily women; we have only got two men in the system so far," Spindler said.
Spindler said Savile, who died last October at age 84, was "undoubtedly" one of the worst sex offenders in recent British history.
Since the allegations aired on British television this month, London police have received three times the usual number of calls about allegations of past sexual abuse. "I have no doubt that we are in a watershed moment for child abuse investigations," Spindler said.
Jimmy Savile, quien por décadas fue una figura de la televisión británica, en una fotografía del 25 de marzo de 2008. La policía británica informó el jueves 25 de octubre que se han identificado hasta 300 víctimas potenciales de abuso sexual supuestamente cometido por Savile. (Foto AP/ Lewis Whyld/PA, archivo)
Previously feted for his charity work at hospitals and homes for children, Savile is alleged to have deliberately supported such causes to target troubled youths whose credibility would be questioned if they reported the alleged sexual abuse.