Late British TV star Jimmy Savile abused 63 people connected to a hospital he raised money for, according to a report, prompting claims of a “whitewash” by a lawyer for his victims.
The report issued after an investigation by Britain’s National Health Service said nine complaints about Savile’s behaviour at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital were ignored over the years but concluded that senior managers “did not know” about the allegations.
Lead investigator Androulla Johnstone said the BBC presenter’s youngest victim was eight and the oldest 40 and they included patients, staff and visitors.
The abuse by Savile, who she said was “given the run” of the hospital because of his fundraising role, ranged from “inappropriate touching to rape”.
A second report also released on Thursday said Savile may have abused people at a total of 41 state-run hospitals in a history of abuse spanning decades.
Johnstone denied claims of a “cover-up” by staff at Stoke Mandeville, northwest of London, saying her report was critical of the lack of supervision of Savile in violation of hospital rules.
“The individuals to whom these incidents were reported failed in their duty to protect. Consequentially, no intelligence about Savile’s behaviour was gathered over the years and no action was taken,” she said.
But Liz Dux, a lawyer representing 44 of the victims, said it “beggars belief” that the report found no evidence of senior managers knowing about the abuse.
“Those people who did know what Savile was up to and to whom direct reports were made will get away scot-free,” she said.
“It’s simply, I’m afraid, a whitewash.”
Savile, who was one of the biggest TV stars in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s, was a serial sexual predator.
His crimes were only revealed after his death, raising questions about why his behaviour was not spotted earlier in decades of abuse against young girls.