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Monday, 29 October 2012

Now, Britons are asking how a sexual predator, and perhaps his friends, could operate without detection in some of the nation’s most respected institutions, not just at the BBC but in hospitals and schools around the country where assaults by Mr. Savile are alleged to have taken place.

LONDON — The sexual abuse scandal surrounding the late television host Jimmy Savile widened Sunday after the British police arrested a former pop star in connection with the case.

Metropolitan Police arrested Paul Gadd, better known as Gary Glitter from the 1970s heyday of glam rock, who is a convicted pedophile. Mr. Gadd’s arrest followed accusations that he abused a teenage girl on the premises of the BBC. He was released on bail late Sunday after he was questioned in a London police station.

Since the British television station ITV broadcast a documentary about Mr. Savile earlier this month, some 300 people have come forward claiming that they were abused by the outlandish television star. They described a depraved environment in Mr. Savile’s dressing room at the BBC studios where teenage girls were molested by Mr. Savile and others including Mr. Gadd.

The case has shocked the nation and shone an intense spotlight on the BBC. Nagging questions remain there about why an investigation into Mr. Savile by the “Newsnight” program was abruptly canceled last December, and how much its executives knew about serious allegations that one of its stars had engaged in widespread sexual molestation in the 1970s and 1980s.

Mark Thompson, the incoming chief executive and president of The New York Times Company, was director-general of the BBC when the decision was made to drop the “Newsnight” investigation into Mr. Savile. Mr. Thompson initially said that he knew nothing about the accusations against Mr. Savile or the “Newsnight” investigation, but later acknowledged that a reporter, Caroline Hawley, had mentioned it to him at a reception shortly after the investigation was halted.

On Sunday, a British newspaper, The Sunday Times, reported that other attempts were made to question Mr. Thompson about the allegations against Mr. Savile, who died in October 2011. A freelance journalist wrote in the newspaper that he called Mr. Thompson’s office in May of this year, asking about the accusations that Mr. Savile had abused girls on BBC premises.

The fact that the network had decided not to air the “Newsnight” program about Mr. Savile was far from a secret. “This was in six different newspapers in January and February,” said David Elstein, a former chief executive of Channel 5, a BBC competitor.

“The big failing internally, and this is where Mark comes into the picture, is the deliberate incuriosity of the senior executives,” said Mr. Elstein, who formerly worked at the BBC. “There is a culture of avoiding knowledge so as to evade responsibility.”

On Sunday, a spokesman for Mr. Thompson said: “As Mark has made it clear, he had no involvement in the decision not to proceed with the Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile.”

Now, Britons are asking how a sexual predator, and perhaps his friends, could operate without detection in some of the nation’s most respected institutions, not just at the BBC but in hospitals and schools around the country where assaults by Mr. Savile are alleged to have taken place.

The police indicated last week that arrests would be made, sending shivers through the ranks of celebrities who appeared on Mr. Savile’s television shows, like “Top of the Pops” and “Jim’ll Fix It,” and who feared that their names would be drawn into the scandal, as well as former employees and associates.

The police did not name the man who was arrested Sunday, saying only that he was in his 60s. A spokesman for Scotland Yard said the man was arrested shortly after 7 a.m. “on suspicion of sexual offenses.” The arrest came as part of a widening police inquiry known as Operation Yewtree, into “Jimmy Savile and others,” the spokesman said....

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http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/29/world/europe/arrest-made-in-bbc-sex-abuse-scandal.html?pagewanted=1&tntemail1=y&emc=tnt

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