LONDON (AP) — The BBC on Wednesday is set to publish the results of an independent review into the broadcaster's decision to shelve a news report on child sex abuse allegations against the late TV presenter Jimmy Savile.
Journalists and executives including former BBC boss Mark Thompson — now chief executive of the New York Times Co. — have given evidence about why the BBC ended the investigation of Savile, a popular children's TV presenter and DJ who died in October 2011 at age 84.
A broadcast on alleged abuses committed by the platinum-haired, tracksuit-wearing host had been due to run in December 2011, but was dropped at the last minute.
Rival broadcaster ITV aired a documentary in October that detailed allegations against Savile. Since then, scores of women have come forward, alleging that they were abused by Savile when they were underage, sometimes in BBC dressing rooms.
Police say Savile is a suspect in 199 crimes recorded so far, including dozens of cases of rape.
The BBC set up the review — carried out by former Sky News executive Nick Pollard — amid mounting speculation over whether a cover-up was involved in the decision not to air the "Newsnight" report. Questions have been raised about the possible role in the Savile scandal of Thompson, who was BBC director general until Sept. 16.
Thompson has said he did not know about the allegations against Savile and was not involved in the decision to shelve the "Newsnight" segment. Critics have said his claim is undermined by a legal letter written on Thompson's behalf in early September that advised the Sunday Times of London not to publish a story about the Savile allegations.
A broader police investigation into sex abuse spurred by the claims against Savile has so far detained eight suspects for questioning. The latest arrest was announced Wednesday, with police saying a man in his 70s had been detained in connection with the investigation.
Other suspects arrested include former pop star Gary Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, and well-known publicist Max Clifford.
The publication of the review will be accompanied by a separate report into a "Newsnight" broadcast that wrongly linked a politician to child sex abuse allegations.
The BBC has already apologized for linking Alistair McAlpine, a member of the House of Lords, to child sex abuse that happened decades ago in Wales. The mistaken report caused turmoil within BBC management ranks and led to the resignation of its chief, George Entwistle, after just 54 days in the job.
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