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Jimmy Savile Sex Abuse Scandal: British Police Identify 200 Potential Victims

Jimmy Savile 1973 - P 2012
Hulton Archive

Authorities launch "Operation Yewtree," a formal criminal investigation into the former "Top of The Pops" BBC presenter.

LONDON – Police investigating the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal have identified 200 potential victims, Scotland Yard said.

Commander Peter Spindler said officers were following more than 400 lines of inquiry linked to the victims.

The Metropolitan police also gave the go-ahead to Dame Janet Smith to lead the BBC commissioned review into the scandal because the force recognizes "her need to progress this important work."

STORY: BBC Boss Answers Questions About Jimmy Savile Scandal in British Parliament

Said the Metropolitan Police: "We are now in a position to advise the BBC that they can ask the chair of the BBC executive board Dame Fiona Reynolds to begin the review to run parallel to our investigation. We will develop a protocol to ensure any future potential criminal action is not jeopardized."

BBC director general George Entwistle laid out plans for two inquiries surrounding sex abuse claims made against Savile, a public broadcasting stalwart for more than 30 years, as the growing storm gathered.

The first inquiry looks at why an investigation into Savile by its flagship late night news show BBC Newsnight was canned before airing last year.

The second inquiry is into whether or not culture and practice at the BBC at the time enabled Savile to carry out the sexual abuse of children and was waiting for the go-ahead from the Metropolitan police.

Spindler told reporters that most of the allegations were linked to Savile but some involved others who might have acted with him.

He described the inquiry as a "watershed" moment in the investigation of child abuse.

Nobody has been arrested or interviewed under caution as yet, but the force is "preparing an arrest strategy," according to a report in The Guardian newspaper.

Spindler said police officers are trying to contact victims as quickly as possible but for some, it is the first time they have spoken openly about it.

"The public's response to this issue has been astounding. We are dealing with alleged abuse on an unprecedented scale," Spindler said. "The profile of this operation has empowered a staggering number of victims to come forward to report the sexual exploitation which occurred during their childhood."

He added: "I am pleased that victims feel confident enough to speak out about the abuse they suffered and would like to reassure the public that we take all these cases very seriously and they will be investigated with the utmost sensitivity."