Hundreds of cases of sexual abuse came to light after his death, but only 5 were recorded during the star's life
A new 61-page report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has concluded that police had reason to suspect the late television host Jimmy Savile of sexual abuse as early the 1960s, but ignored accusations against the star due to his status.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the report “also said officials mishandled evidence amid a ‘cultural mistrust’ of evidence from children, and victims at times were simply dismissed. It concluded that Savile, who died in Oct. 2011, could have been stopped as early as 1964.”
“It is clear that because of Savile’s celebrity status and the power, maybe people do look for that extra piece of evidence, behaving with an extra sense of caution, because of the power he wielded,” HMIC’s Drusilla Sharpling told BBC radio on Tuesday.
For example, in 1963, a man who reported rape was told to “forget about it” and “move on”; in another instance, a man who reported sexual assault on his girlfriend was told that he “could be arrested for making such allegations” and dismissed the claim. The Scotland Yard ignored an anonymous letter in 1998 that detailed Savile’s sexual habits. In fact, according to the report, only five allegations of sexual abuse were recorded against Savile in his lifetime–compared to around 600 that surfaced after the television host’s death in 2011.
Since Savile’s death, more than 450 people have come forward with sexual abuse claims, including 34 rapes.
Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. More Prachi Gupta.
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