New Savile allegations add to pressure on BBC
LONDON (Reuters) - Fresh allegations emerged on Wednesday of sexual misconduct by late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile, further damaging the corporation's reputation and increasing pressure on its management.
Facing questions on how suspicions about Savile were handled are BBC head George Entwistle and his predecessor Mark Thompson, new CEO of the New York Times co. Two independent inquiries and a police investigation are under way.
Police looking into the hundreds of allegations, mostly from the 1970s and 80s, of sexual abuse involving Savile - who died last year - arrested 1970s pop star Gary Glitter earlier this week. More arrests are expected.
Savile was regularly allowed to take "star-struck" young women into private bedrooms at a hospital in northern England, Terry Pratt, a former porter there, told the BBC on Wednesday.
Savile, a fund-raiser for Leeds General Infirmary, would regularly arrive at the hospital late at night with two women, go to the nurses' flats and leave before dawn.
"He would go up and see the lad on the desk ... he'd take the key and ... would walk out and the two women would follow him towards the nurses' home," he told the BBC. Pratt said the women seemed "star-struck" and "not very streetwise".
The hospital said in a statement: "We continue to be shocked by each new allegation. It is important that they are investigated properly".
The report came a day after a former royal aide said Savile's behavior on visits to Prince Charles' residence, St James' Palace, had aroused "concern and suspicion".
Dickie Arbiter told the Guardian newspaper Savile would greet young women working at the palace by "rubbing his lips all the way up their arms".
An ex-patient at the secure hospital Broadmoor has shed light on how difficult it was for individuals to come out against Savile at the height of his fame.
According to the tabloid Sun, the woman was put in solitary confinement for six months after telling a nurse Savile had sexually assaulted her.
The nurse accused her of "bizarre made-up thoughts".
An inquiry into whether the BBC's culture and practices enabled sexual misconduct to go undetected in the Savile years began this week, led by former Appeal Court judge Dame Janet Smith. She is expected to publish her findings by December.
(Editing by Andrew Roche)
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