How far will the Jimmy Savile fallout go?

Or they’d rather sue the accuser as a deterrent. I know that I might hesitate to go on record if I know it could bankrupt me. Can’t you see the problem here?

I don’t blame the papers for not running stories - you can’t accuse someone people like that with anonymous sources.

What about word-of-mouth slander as distinct from print-or-equivalent libel? How much of a litigation-risk does one run in the UK by repeating gossip?

This is what I’d like to know more about too. However, I would make a distinction between small teenge boys and small pre-pubescent boys. The term “small boys” is not specific enough for me. I know it may sound morally dubious, but I can very well believe that an MP involved with a rent boy of 14 or 15 would be easily “forgiven” then blackmailed by Party Whips. Im yet to be convinced the clip posted earlier meant Savile types(though it may indeed have meant that type of crime on pre-pubescents).

What if it were a girl of the same age?

Much the same thing happened in the Catholic church, social services care homes and it was rife in single sex schools such as those posh Public schools that so many powerful figures attended.

All of these institutions had a duty of care, which they decided was of less importance than the personal interests of those in authority. The managerial weakness of the institutions allowed them to be manipulated by sexual predators for their own ends.

Now we find the political parties and central government institutions also had their fair share of predators who wielded enough influence to be protected while their victims were left to suffer alone.

This is now thought to be wrong and something is going to be done about it.

I believe the Savile investigation was a watershed. A moment when a long standing issue rises up the political agenda and is dealt with by serious deliberation. Public policy will shift by consensus to set a some firm principles to stop this sort of thing from reoccurring in our institutions.

I agree it’s difficult, but I don’t think it’s impossible. Anonymous whistleblowers are used to break stories from time to time. Ideally they would have some kind of documentary evidence rather than hearsay but it might have been possible to produce a piece about e.g. general security concerns at Leeds Infirmary or Broadmoor - strong enough to draw attention to the issue but not directly implicating Savile.

Anyhow, I don’t disagree that libel considerations can have a chilling effect. But I don’t think they’re the main reason we didn’t hear about this. I found this article on a genuine case of libel laws chillling investigative journalism: the Sunday Times investigation of Lance Armstrong.

What you have there is a journalist with his teeth into the story, who has investigated, found witnesses and persuaded them to tell the truth despite their fears. The story is spiked at the last minute by legal concerns.

I could be wrong, but I don’t believe there’s anything remotely parallel in the Savile case. Journalists didn’t start to investigate until after he was dead. Now, maybe this was because they felt it would be quashed by lawyers, but not to even try - in a story with such public interest - seems careless.
I think the main reason for the story not coming out has more to do with witness intimidation. It’s notable that almost no witnesses came forward until he died. By definition Savile’s victims were vulnerable - that’s why he chose them. And he was careful to intimidate them afterwards and let them know he was untouchable. Legal threats would have been part of that, but more so threats of media exposure, claims to “friends in high places” (including the police) and straight up intimidation. It’s also notable that those who did speak up had their concerns dismissed by family, carers and police.

The police/NSPCC report into Savile’s victims concludes in part:

So I think the reason Savile’s behavour didn’t become public till after he died are:

  1. Witness intimidation
  2. Carers bamboozled by his celebrity status and persona
  3. Unwillingness by police, press, institutions to investigate allegations
  4. Libel considerations preventing publication of investigations

It was a factor, but there were much bigger forces in play.

People have been dealt with for twitter posts. The Lord MacAlpine case being one in point.

Interesting history- the popularity of Benny Hill in the US and the UK raises questions. For many years in the fifties sixties and into the seventies, Benny Hill’s rather puerile humour was very popular in the UK and suddenly it became old fashioned, seen as sexist and declined in poularity to the point where Benny Hill became quite depressed. Then the US discovered him and gave him two more decades of popularity.

Source for Tarbuck being listed here with Harris. As far as I know Tarbuck is alive, unprosecuted and able to sue for libel. Careful.

Perhaps becasue Padophilia is not a crime in the UK and Sexual Assault is. I have known (professionally) many active paedophiles who are not engaged in sexual assault- they avoid their urges with help from friends, families and others (Support Circles particularly). It please me when I see people labelled by their crimes and actions rather than mislabelled by their clinical diagnoses and desires.

Ken Loach is a Film director of some renown and totally uninvolved.

William Roache of Cornonation Street is an actor accused and found not guilty of sexual assault.

Ken Barlow is the character he played in Coronation Street.

Nice collision of identities!

Watch this space- they are moving on to politicians. readers of Private Eye will not be surprised as they have been publishing the material ignored by others for a quarter century- all about to burst into the mainstream with the current enquiry announced this week.

There is no British Legal System save for Administrative Law. There is Scottish criminal and civil law, “English and Welsh” criminal and civil law, and Northern Irish criminal and civil law. Completely different systems in oh so many ancient and modern ways.

For some years people would have supported John Peel for a substantive role in British politics because of his status of Rock Music and Liberal Middle Class Broadcaster- Teenage Kicks to Home Truths. He died before his time- luckily considering this article:

"Peel, awarded the OBE in 1998, is perhaps best remembered for his Saturday morning programme Home Truths on Radio 4 in which he talked about family life to Middle England.
But as a young man, he worked in Texas as a local radio station DJ and self-appointed ‘Beatles expert’.
When he was older, he recalled some of the ‘perks’ of the job in several newspaper interviews in the Seventies and Eighties.
Girls, some as young as 13, he said, used to queue up outside his studio to offer him sexual favours. ‘Well, of course, I didn’t ask for ID,’ he said.
‘All they wanted me to do was to abuse them sexually which, of course I was only too happy to do.
‘It was the glamour of the job . . . but frustratingly, American girls of that period — as they do now, actually — had this strange notion of virginity as a tangible thing which you surrendered to your husband on your wedding night.
‘So they would do anything but s*** you. They’d give you a b*** *** before they’d s*** you.’
Even now, and allowing for Peel’s famously sardonic humour, it is troubling that those words came from Radio 4’s cuddly champion of middle-class values. One of the girls who queued up outside his studio was a girl called Shirley Anne Milburn. She and Peel were married in Texas on September 29, 1965.
Peel was 26 years old. Shirley Anne was just 15.
‘She lied about her age and so did her family,’ he would later declare.
Peel brought his wife to London two years later, but the marriage began to founder almost immediately as his star soared on Radio 1. They were divorced in 1973. Some years later, after returning to the U.S., she committed suicide.
By then, Peel — who married his second wife, Sheila, in 1974, and with whom he had four children — had become a pillar of the community in the village of Great Finborough, Suffolk.
Nevertheless, the DJ — who died in 2004 — kept up a running gag in his column in Sounds (a rock music weekly) in the mid-Seventies about how he preferred the company of fans when they were dressed as schoolgirls.
The column was often illustrated with photos of Peel posing with young girls dressed St Trinian’s-style in short gym skirts, stockings and suspenders. For one series of pictures, he dressed in a schoolgirl uniform himself.
Alan Lewis, a one-time editor of Sounds, says Peel’s regular references to schoolgirls were ‘half joking, half serious’. But he admits: ‘We really did go quite far on occasion.’
Unbelievably, Peel also ran a Schoolgirl of the Year competition on his Radio 1 show.
So, on the one hand, you have John Peel, and his ‘revelations’ about under-age girls queuing up for sex with him outside his studio in Texas, and on the other, Jimmy Savile — ‘Sir Jimmy’ — grooming girls as young as 12 by offering them sweets, cigarettes and tickets to be in the audience of his shows.
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In the UK, the picture is mixed. Many felt that the Rock Star who had sex with young men (Jonathon King) was picked on because of his choice of gender in ways that rock stars who contemporaneously were screwing every 13 year old girl who would drop her knickers. Time and justice is now catching up with some of the more blatant offenders, but i suspect that many will never be prosecuted.

Never cared for Peel. Dour voice and I suspect he thought highly of himself.

Serendipitously though, since I live not far off I’ve sometimes been tediously regaled with stories of strange teachers who used to abuse boys at Finborough School, a minor Public about 20 years ago. ‘Small world’ as Mr. Peel would probably dryly chuckle.

As for girls aged 14, that was the marriage age in most places in the 19th century, and until last year in Spain, and is still in several American States. So I’d guess people of a certain generation may give it more of a pass.

As did Mr. Peel to those lined-up lasses.

In the US at that time you could be prosecuted for having sex with anyone under 21.

What was the term…‘statutory rape’?

I seem to remember the singer Jerry Lee Lewis was married to a 13 year old an this caused a controversy during his visit to the UK, not really helped by his managers claiming she was 15.

Peels marriage to a very first young wife of 15, he described as a ‘mutual defence pact’. She was pregnant, it was a ‘shotgun’ marriage. Marry or go to jail for statutory rape.

Peel got another 15 year old pregnant later in the UK and this article explains something of the standards of the time.

There is quite a difference between under age sex with adoring teenage fans and the sort of abuse Savile got up to in hospitals and mortuaries.

Savile had a lot of information on others that could have ruined reputations.

Blackmail is quite a powerful weapon to ensure support…as every party Whip knows very well.

Do we know this for a fact about Savile? It seems a lot has been hinted at without much proof. And when I mean information I dont mean information that some manager at Broadmoor was having a widely known of affair.

It’s interesting that you defend Peel. Im fairly libertarian about all this soI would be hypocritical in putting the knife into him. But it seems as if he got at least two fifteen year olds pregnant. How likely do you think these were the only two underage girls he had shagged? And do you think shagging more than two under aged girls shows a pattern?

What Peel did was wrong.

But I think we have to judge the seriousness of crimes and take into account the context.

The Savile case has led to a reappraisal of some of the things that were known to be going on in childrens homes but were covered up. Crimes that were far more serious in character that may have involved political figures and where the victims were in the care of public institutions.