Following the public exposure of late BBC celebrity Jimmy Savile as a pedophile monster who sexually abused hundreds of children over a period of decades — sometimes as part of a satanic ring, according to victims cited in news reports — British police announced last week that the investigation into child sex abuse was widening to include some members of Parliament. However, the police themselves are under fire for declining on multiple occasions to file charges against Savile, whose monstrous crime spree has been called “unprecedented” in U.K. history.
Savile hosted wildly popular television shows for the state-funded BBC and was something of a legend in the United Kingdom — he was even knighted by the Queen. However, during that time, the DJ and media celebrity had also been the target of numerous complaints over the years from individuals claiming he had sexually abused them. Many people he worked with knew. Despite several police investigations, the pedophile — who often bragged about his connections in the police force — was never prosecuted. He died a celebrity in 2011 at 84 years old.
Eventually, though, a documentary exposed Savile for what he was, and some 450 of his victims ranging in age from eight to 47 have since come forward. Experts say there could be many more, too. Law enforcement finally jumped on the case after Savile’s death, concluding in a report that he was involved in "vast, predatory and opportunistic" sexual abuses over a period of about 60 years. Almost 75 percent of his victims, mostly girls, were children. The monstrous attacks took place on BBC property, in hospitals Savile helped fund, and in other places where he could easily access vulnerable victims.
"It paints a stark picture emphasizing the tragic consequences of when vulnerability and power collide," Metropolitan Police Commander Peter Spindler said about the official report, touching on a recurring theme in these types of cases, most recently illustrated in the high-profile U.S. case of Penn State's Jerry Sandusky. "Savile's offending footprint was vast, predatory and opportunistic. He cannot face justice today but we hope this report gives some comfort to his hundreds of victims, they have been listened to and taken seriously. We must use the learning from these shocking events to prevent other children and vulnerable adults being abused in the future. They will get a voice."
Also alarming are claims by some of Savile’s victims that he raped them as part of a satanic pedophile ring possibly involving other powerful U.K. figures. In an interview with the U.K. Sunday Express, therapist Dr. Valerie Sinason, director of the Clinic for Dissociative Studies in London, explained that she first spoke to one of Savile’s victims two decades ago. The girl was a patient at Stoke Mandeville hospital while Savile, who was a fundraiser for the institution, had his own “quarters” there and was a regular visitor.
“She recalled being led into a room that was filled with candles on the lowest level of the hospital, somewhere that was not regularly used by staff. Several adults were there, including Jimmy Savile who, like the others, was wearing a robe and a mask,” explained Dr. Sinason, who also serves as president of the Institute of Psychotherapy and Disability. “He was not the leader but he was seen as important because of his fame. She was molested, raped and beaten and heard words that sounded like ‘Ave Satanas,’ a Latinized version of ‘Hail Satan,’ being chanted.”
Separately, another victim who spoke with Dr. Sinason had a similar story, recounting a bizarre satanic ritual being conducted after a party in London with Savile as the sort of “master of ceremonies.” Both of the victims who dealt with Dr. Sinason contacted the police. However, according to the U.K. Express, law enforcement again took no action.
The question Britons and analysts worldwide are wondering is how could Savile have escaped prosecution — especially considering the overwhelming number of victims, the amount of time involved, and the multiple investigations that took place. A lot of pressure is now being put on authorities to explain themselves, and while the Crown Prosecution Service and various police officials have apologized, Savile’s links to law enforcement are now the subject of serious scrutiny.
"These allegations do leave many institutions — perhaps particularly the BBC — with serious questions to answer, I think above all the question, 'How did he get away with this for so long?'” noted Prime Minister David Cameron. "The most important thing is that the police investigation is properly resourced and is allowed to continue.”
According to a Surrey police report that investigated the issue — one of many investigations, some of which are still on-going — Savile regularly boasted about his links to top officials whenever a new complaint against him was being probed. “He made various comments about knowing senior police officers from Leeds and seeing them socially,” the document explains, adding that Savile bragged about having his police contacts “get rid” of complaints against him. “He stated that he gets a number of letters from people trying to blackmail him and he gives these to the police as a matter of course.… Savile also stated that the officers read and destroyed the letters.”
Now, after the revelations sparked a nationwide uproar throughout the United Kingdom, people want answers. Unsurprisingly, they also want to know how large the scope of the problem is; was Savile an isolated monster who by some fluke somehow managed to escape justice, or is there more to the story than that? Police officials with Scotland Yard announced last week that they were following up on leads about a pedophile ring with links to Parliament that abused children in government care during the 1980s.
According to British Parliamentarian Tom Watson with the Labor Party, the evidence file used in the '90s to convict pedophile Peter Righton — a former consultant at the National Children’s Bureau and lecturer for the National Institute for Social Work in London — should be re-examined, assuming it still exists. The MP said it contains “clear intelligence of a widespread pedophile ring” in the U.K. operating at the highest levels of power.
"One of its members boasts of his links to a senior aide of a former prime minister, who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad,” Watson explained in Parliament. "The leads were not followed up, but if the file still exists I want to ensure that the Metropolitan Police secure the evidence, re-examine it and investigate clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and [government headquarters at Downing Street] Number 10."
Not everybody, however, was shocked that Savile managed to escape justice despite sexually abusing hundreds of children for decades. In fact, leading child abuse attorney Peter Garsden, who has been contacted by at least one alleged victim, told CNN that it was hardly a surprise. "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,” he said, adding that he believes the BBC could face possible charges of negligence for failing to protect victims on its property.
In the end, though, some hope that the exposure of Savile and the cover-up may help protect children in the future. "We are optimistic that this signals a watershed moment for child protection in this country,” said National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) director of child protection advice Peter Watt, pointing out that almost 800 additional kids have been protected from abuse because of the publicity surrounding Savile and a hotline for victims. “We must seize the opportunity if we are to make a lasting change."
Authorities are asking anyone with information on pedophiles, particularly victims of abuse, to come forward. Whether anyone will ultimately be punished for their crimes after Savile’s exposure, however, remains to be seen.
Photo of Palace of Westminster, London, U.K.