Jimmy Savile Sexual Abuse Victims Offered Up to $100,000 Each in Compensation
LONDON – People claiming they were victims of sexual abuse carried out by Jimmy Savile are to be able to make claims against the Savile estate, the BBC and the National Health Service, with payments capped at $101,000 (£60,000) each.
Full-page advertisements laying out just how to go about making the claims appeared in two national newspapers and U.K. regional press Tuesday.
The former Top of the Pops host and public-broadcaster stalwart managed to evade justice for years.
The allegations of widespread abuse plunged the BBC into what most industry observers called one of the biggest scandals in its history. The presenter is believed to have abused mostly young people decades ago, including on BBC premises.
The revelations and initial mishandling of the story cost director-general George Entwistle his job. He resigned less than 60 days into his tenure.
Allegations about Savile first emerged following an ITV expose in October 2012, in which several women said they were abused by the presenter when they were teenagers.
The commercial network's expose rocked the U.K. public broadcaster, and it also emerged in 2012 that BBC flagship news show Newsnight had dropped an investigation into allegations against Savile the previous year.
Following the TV expose, hundreds of calls were made to the police and charity helplines alleging abuse by Savile on both BBC premises and at various hospitals around the country, which he visited as part of his charity work.
So far, about 140 people have come forward claiming they are victims of the former entertainer, and in February the High Court in the U.K. approved a compensation scheme of more than $5 million (£3 million).
An inquiry by the Metropolitan Police has recorded more than 200 sexual offenses committed by Savile.
The court ordered advertisements be placed in two national newspapers – Rupert Murdoch's The Times and tabloid The Mirror, as well as papers on the Channel Islands, which Savile used to visit.
The adverts advise people who have not already applied for compensation to do so in the next six weeks; however, the scheme will stay open for claims for a year. The claims will be scrutinized by lawyers acting for the estate and for the claimants.
Legal eagle Alison Millar of Leigh Day law practice said on BBC Radio 5 Live that victims would have to provide credible evidence of their abuse to be successful in a claim.
She said, "The fact that a compensation scheme has been approved doesn't mean this is a guarantee that anyone who comes forward with a potential claim will get a payment. You will need some evidence to show that you were in a situation where Savile will have had the opportunity to abuse you."
The former BBC DJ, who presented Top of the Pops and Jim'll Fix It, died October 2011 at the age of 84, before the sex abuse allegations came to light.
He is alleged to have abused people over a 60-year period.
In January 2013, a Metropolitan Police report described Savile as having been a "prolific, predatory sex offender" who was able to "hide in plain sight" while abusing his victims.
A second report said he could have been prosecuted in 2009 if victims had been taken more seriously.
A criminal investigation, Operation Yewtree, was launched in October 2012 and is ongoing.