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Historical celebrity child abuse in Britain

Updated on December 12, 2012

This year there have been a number of celebrity arrests in relation to sexual offences and or child abuse in the UK. The allegations are historical and came to light following a BBC investigation into the deceased celebrity Jimmy Savile.

In the days that followed the revelations the BBC was under attack for an alleged cover-up and and more. Heads rolled and each fresh arrest or accusation was more shocking than the last.

Jimmy Savile died on October 29, 2011 and in the eyes of most people in the UK he was a type of hero. An eccentric for sure but a good spirited guy. He had worked tirelessly over the years to raise funds for Stoke Mandeville Hospital and more. He had even worked as a hospital porter.

Revelations though were to cast doubt over his motives for these actions and show how he was allowed to abuse his power.

Operation Yewtree was begun by police in the UK and a shockingly high level of historical sexual and child abuse has been discovered. How could such a high level of abuse go unnoticed for so many years?

Recent revelations have shown that some of the abused had contacted the police in the past. Be it corruption or a lack of evidence, no perpetrator was ever brought to justice. As Jimmy Savile is dead he will never be brought to trial and so in the eyes of the law must remain innocent. The truth is though that with so many allegations made against him common sense tells you that he was an abuser.

The victims may not be able to see him convicted and sentenced but his "good" name has gone. He was Sir Jimmy Savile but these days is referred to as Savile. Other celebrity names have followed.

The late John Peel was the first celebrity to be mentioned after the scandal broke. His was a different case more of falling into the arms of an underage lover. Knowing she was underage means he did break the law.

Since then other celebrities arrested have included Dave Lee Travis, comedian Freddie Starr, Max Clifford PR guru and Gary Glitter.

The police are looking at hundreds of allegations including one against the late MP Cyril Smith. Operation Yewtree involves paedophilia, child abuse and those who have claimed that they were sexually abused as young adults. The police investigation has divided the allegations into sections. Some are related to the Jimmy Savile investigation but others are not.

It is important now that the victims have their cases heard and where possible justice is served. Some of Savile's victims were hospital patients at the time of the abuse. They were often vulnerable and unable to fight back. You have to wonder how many people turned a blind eye or deaf ear to the abuse. Was money involved? Those who did contact the police at the time were it seems dismissed. Again why?

What is becoming a problem in the UK following this scandal is a developing witch hunt. The men arrested so far have all been relatively old. The allegations against them date back many years. For some of them children were not involved. Having debated this I know it is an emotive subject. However if we lose all sense of responsibility we sink to the depths, along with the abusers.

One or two of the men charged with sexual abuse were young men when the incidents happened. It was the 60s, 70s or 80s. Some young women were easily swept up with the celebrity persona. Dare to even say that sexual abuse is not all as bad and you are attacked mercilessly. However if they are to be believed in some cases the abuse would probably not have been classed as abuse at that time. Choosing to adopt a one size fits all attitude to abuse belittles those who suffered serious abuse.

That does not mean the actions were not wrong but rather we need to get it right after so many mistakes.

Going from ignoring the plight of these women to a man hunt of vague suspects is not productive. The investigations need to be followed through and where appropriate court cases and sentences follow.

Already there has been one man wrongly accused who experienced a great deal of humiliation. An elderly man the accusations will have affected his loved ones too. He cleared his name and made sure that those who slandered his name paid.

Before any reader decides to get onto a high horse and be abusive think twice. Those arrested will have their day in court if there allegations to face. The authorities will not be able to hide this abuse away any more.

In the UK until a person is found guilty in a court of law they are innocent. If we throw away that premise it will be bad news for us all. Let justice run its course rather than trial by twitter or facebook.


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    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      5 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Exactly me feelings Tony. There are some reports of behaviour in the 80s which was probably acceptable then but not now. There will also be others jumping on the bandwagon. Still those who were abused need justice.

    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 

      5 years ago from Yorkshire

      Hi Ethel

      I don't like witch hunts, they fling a lot of dirt and often it hits the wrong target. Neither do I like any who molests any vunerable person.

      I do feel in some cases they are just chasing compensation, but I am sure there are some genuine accusations. Perhaps I would be more comfortable if they did not get money, after all how much should they be paid?


      from Yorkshire


    • maggs224 profile image


      6 years ago from Sunny Spain

      In Spain where I live the media is not allowed to identify the accused until they have been convicted which I personally think is a really good idea.

      I agree that if the law really has been broken and people have suffered abuse, then justice needs to be done and the guilty must pay the penalty for their crime.

      What disturbs me is that anyone can just pull a celebrity's name out of thin air and the media will be all over it in a second.

      If the accusation proves to be unfounded the accuser still has their identity kept secret but but it is impossible to put that that Genie (the false allegation) back in its bottle.

      Once the accusation has been out there, there will always be some that will say there is no smoke without fire, or he has friends in high places there will always be a suspicion in some peoples minds.

      Then unfortunately an innocent victim of a false accusation will now always be vulnerable to other such accusations no matter how groundless or malicious the original accusation proved to be.

      There also seems no penalty for those who make such false accusations.

      Sexual abuse is a terrible thing and those that have suffered at the hands of such abusers deserve the full weight of the law to come down on that abuser.

      However, I agree with you Ethel, some of the stuff that is being investigated these days, smells more like witch hunts and that is worrying.

      A good hub on a very disturbing subject, voting up and hitting the relevant buttons on my way out

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I think the problem here is the cultural difference between the 2010's and the 1960's and 1970's; many men could do these things back then and get away with it, especially when, as has been alleged, the law enforcement authorities were all too prepared to cover things up, or simply not investigate.

      In the case of Jimmy Saville, there have simply been so many accusations that it does look likely that he was a serial offender, though he will never appear in court to answer the allegations. I have simply been amazed by the fact that he got away with what he is alleged to have done for so long, although that would be understandable with the stories about collusion of the authorities.

      Nevertheless, although it is an emotive subject, you are right to say that people are innocent until proven guilty.


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