Pro-Israel BBC presenter molested 72 victims, report says


(JTA) — An internal inquiry at the British Broadcasting Company found the BBC partially responsible for the sexual abuse of children by its former star Jimmy Savile, who was a staunch supporter of Israel and British Jews.

Savile, who died in 2011, sexually abused 72 victims, including children, during his 43 years of employment at the BBC, the internal inquiry said in its report, which it published Thursday after a three-year investigation.

Of those, Savile raped eight people, including an 8-year-old boy, the report also alleged. The author of the report, a retired judge, cited “an atmosphere of fear” that he said prevented people who knew about Savile’s crimes, and a permissive attitude toward talents.

In  2015, Surrey Police stated that Savile, who was never convicted of sex crimes, had sexually assaulted 22 students and a visitor at a girls school in the 1970s. The first police probe into his actions was opened after his death, in 2012.

Savile, the Leeds-born presenter of “Jim’ll Fix It” and “Top of the Pops,” once described himself as “the most Jewish Catholic you will ever meet,” The Jewish Chronicle reported in 2011.

A strong supporter of Israel who criticized the Jewish state for “being too soft” in its dealings with its Arab neighbors, Savile regularly hosted events supporting Israel, including charity marathons for  WIZO, Ravenswood and the British Friends of the Laniado Hospital in Netanya.

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