Here's the set up: a beloved figure who works with children is whispered about. "You know about him, right?" His bosses, who could reign him in, look the other way, more interested in protecting their own asses than the children he's said to abuse. When the news breaks because finally FINALLY a victim speaks out these same bosses disavow all knowledge. "We had no idea!" they cry.
The sick punchline is that I'm not talking about Jerry Sandusky this time. Sandusky was sentenced on Turesday October 9th to 30-60 years in prison; he's 68 years old, which makes that effectively a life sentence. The guy in the set up above, though, is someone who'll never see the inside of a courtroom let alone a jail cell because he's dead: Jimmy Savile. The stories are coming fast and furious now, each new account more sickening and disturbing than the last. An underaged girl in his dressing room; a disabled child in the hallway of Leeds General Infirmary. David Nicolson, a former BBC TV director, says he reported Savile's behavior to their bosses but was brushed off.
This, for me, is one of the most infuriating things about these allegations. The BBC is home to arguably the most powerful and well-connected news organization on the planet but they didn't investigate crimes by one of their employees that were happening in-house. The Sandusky story, on the other hand, was first investigated and reported by the tiny Harrisburg Patriot-News by 22-year-old Sara Ganim. She knew full well who she was taking on and she did it anyway and apparently she has more balls than the entire BBC news division.
How many children did Savile molest in his lifetime? We'll never know and each one is a tragedy. How many more was he free to abuse after the BBC heard from Nicolson, after the staffs of at least three hospitals advised their patients to "just pretend you're asleep," after each adult who could have stepped up and kicked his ass instead sat down? Again, each one is a tragedy. Don't expect the truth from the BBC, though. Get Sara Ganim on it to show them how it's done.