The alleged victims of Jimmy Savile are considering bringing a civil case against the BBC and the hospitals involved. The organisations could be held vicariously liable for failing in their duty of care.
Amid the disclosure of yet more allegations that Jimmy Savile sexually assaulted young girls, BBC Radio Four's The World at One today reported that victims of abuse may seek to bring civil legal proceedings against the BBC and the hospitals where Savile worked as a volunteer. Lawyers for the victims intend to argue that Savile, acting as the agent of the organisations, had access to the victims and therefore the organisations are vicariously liable for his actions.
Earlier today a woman, who does not wish to be named, told BBC Radio Leeds that Jimmy Savile abused a twelve year old girl during a visit to a Leeds children's home in the 1970s. The woman claims that Savile sat at the dining table talking to the children before taking the girl upstairs to one of the bedrooms. She said that when the person in charge of the home realised what had happened she "ran upstairs and found him". The woman said Savile was told to leave and banned from any future visits. The woman added:
A social worker came down and basically he came back the next day and said it would be his word against Jimmy Savile and it would be unfair to put a girl through the procedure of a police investigation that probably will end in nothing and ruin a man's career.The Sun also reports how Julie Fernandez today revealed how she was a victim of Jimmy Savile when she appeared on one of his shows, Jim'll Fix It. She was then aged fourteen. She said:
I was in my wheelchair, but I just remember his hands being everywhere and just lingering those two, three, four seconds slightly too long in places they shouldn’t. But it wasn’t particularly obvious either.
It was in a busy room full of people in a studio so it was quite discreetly done and you don’t kind of realise what’s happening at the time, especially when you’re 14 and it’s the first time you’ve ever been in a studio and you’re very excited. But I do remember feeling uncomfortable and he had these huge rings on his fingers
In a separate disclosure, the Daily Telegraph reports that a former BBC director, David Nicholson, says he saw Jimmy Savile having sex with a fifteen or sixteen year old girl in the star's dressing room. Nicholson says he reported the incident to his "bosses" at the BBC, but they brushed it off, saying:
That's the way it goes.
Mr Nicholson claims that it was perfectly normal for there to be girls in Savile's dressing room and everyone knew about it. He said:
There were always girls in Jimmy’s dressing room. Everyone would have known about it — all the hair and make-up people, the wardrobe, show directors, producers.
Everyone knew what he was doing. It was talk of the town and talk of the BBC that Jimmy loved young girls.
Such evidence of reports, rumours and common knowledge would only strengthen the case of the victims. If the BBC and the hospitals had knowledge or even merely heard rumours of such conduct by Savile their failure to exercise due care would be all the more egregious.