After last week's documentary The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile
, the allegations against the former DJ and TV personality have multiplied exponentially. Savile died
at his home in Leeds last year, and there was a massive turn out for his funeral. Shortly, a woman came forward claiming to be his daughter
, that squelched one rumour. Because Savile had never married, there was speculation that he had been homosexual. Wagging tongues had once spread the same rumours about former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone
, for entirely different reasons, and boy were they wrong about him
, big time!
At the time of writing, the police in London - where Savile spent much of his time with the BBC - are working on well over a hundred lines of inquiry
, and have already claimed he was a serial abuser. Some people seem to believe one allegation of sexual abuse or whatever may be an aberration, but ten, fifty, a hundred, must be corroboration. Is that indeed the case?
Some of the allegations publicised so far beggar belief, consider:
‘I was a virgin when Savile raped me
This anonymous woman (who may not exist) claims Savile raped her when she was 16 years old and
that she became pregnant by him. So what did she do? At the behest of her mother, she had an illegal abortion.
A story that appeared in the Sun
claims that in 1973, a passenger on the same train as Savile caught him with his hand up a girl's blouse, a girl of 13 or 14. So what did he do? Punched him, of course. But: "When I realised who he was I thought I’d be in trouble.”
This man is named, as is the woman who claims at the age of 19 she was groped by Savile while working as a waitress at a London club. A particularly disgusting allegation - whether true or false - claims Savile groped a girl in a Leeds hospital; another claims to have been groped while a patient.
None of these assaults resulted in any action at the time. It should be borne in mind that the same newspaper that reported these allegations also claimed back in the 1980s a certain Elton John was abusing underage rent boys. They thought the singer-songwriter was an easy target; he turned out to be an expensive one instead. Jimmy Savile really is an easy target, because unlike Elton, he is not in a position to defend himself.
Others are though, and to date two of his relatives have spoken out - a nephew and niece - as has a woman who had a long term relationship with him. His niece is still young, and although depravity like charity often begins at home, she has nothing bad to say about him
. What is noticeable here is that neither woman appears to have figured in his will, at least not in a big way, so they might have been willing to spill the beans or to embroider their stories if either of them had been abused by him.
To date, all the claims about Jimmy Savile have been exactly that, claims, with little if any substance though plenty of innuendo. There was it is true a claim filed with the police in 2007; the BBC has been accused of covering this up. The police investigated this claim at the time and found no evidence to support it. Can either the police or the BBC be accused of suppressing a report of an unfounded allegation?
Of course, many cases of sexual assault - real and fabricated
- are he said/she said, which can and does result in miscarriages of justice both ways. Here though we have she said/he can't say.
In spite of what Esther Rantzen said at the end of the recent documentary, the jury is still out. If Jimmy Savile raped underage girls; if he infected them with some vile sexually transmitted disease; if one or more of them had an abortion after being impregnated by him, there should even at this late date be some credible evidence, if only a paper trail. Until that evidence emerges, we should at least suspend judgment.
There is one other point that should be mentioned, there has now been much lurid speculation and talk about not only a culture of sexual abuse at the BBC but the claim that Savile was part of a ring of abusers. One name that has already cropped up, inevitably, is that of Gary Glitter, who has been accused of actually raping a girl in Savile's dressing room. Glitter, who is now a rightly convicted paedophile, will almost certainly be questioned over this allegation, and few people will lose any sleep if he is charged or even gaoled, guilty or innocent. But other names have also been thrown into the ring, and they are in danger of falling prey to a witch hunt.
Regarding Gary Glitter; he was convicted of offences against young girls in Vietnam six years ago, and was chased out of Britain in shame years before that, yet no one at the BBC thought to mention the fact that he had actually violated an underage girl at the BBC, whether the victim was willing
It is a widely held misconception that there is no smoke without fire; the truth is rather more prosaic: there is no smoke without smoke.