The Sydney Morning Herald’s headline is quite sickening: “Jimmy Savile claimed to have performed sex acts on dead bodies, investigators say.” But I think the reported crimes in the article are actually worse than the headline.
Savile, one of the biggest TV stars in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s, was responsible for a litany of rape and sexual abuse in National Health Service institutions over at least five decades until 2009, according to 28 official reports covering the institutions involved. His victims included staff and patients, toddlers and pensioners, as he visited as a celebrity fundraiser and volunteer.
He “cherry-picked” voluntary portering jobs that would bring him into contact “with the young and vulnerable”.
In one particularly distressing case at a hospital in Leeds, central England, he fondled the breasts of a teenage girl through her hospital gown as she lay prostrate on a trolley following a lengthy medical procedure.
Among the most disturbing findings in the report, which was released on Thursday, were “macabre accounts” of claims that the presenter, who died in 2011, performed sex acts on dead bodies in the mortuary at Leeds General Infirmary, and at least one other hospital.
I can’t say what is more disturbing. But I think the fact he perpetrated crimes on hundreds of living victims of both sexes and all ages are much more serious crimes.
British Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt apologised to the victims of “sickening and prolific” abuse by the disgraced, late BBC television presenter and disc jockey in hospitals and hospices. He said they were “let down badly” by the government and health service.
Savile repeatedly exploited the “trust of a nation” for his own “vile purposes”, Mr Hunt said.
But how exactly did he win the trust of the nation? It is bizarre to me that we have here a man who was untouchable his entire life despite the most egregious evidence against him. And then, when he dies, almost immediately the accusations explode. It is just too convenient that this happens when he can no longer testify about who helped him.
Savile had friends in high places. As I wrote last year, Jimmy Savile was
the horrific child abuser who was so close to Prince Charles and Lady Di that he was called upon as a marriage expert to save their relationship in the late 80s. Why a man who was known, at least, to be a bachelor was entrusted with such a task is a mystery that has not yet been revealed.
I wonder if we will ever find out who knew what Savile was doing and who helped him get away with it.