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The NYT - BBC child sex denial link

Thursday, March 28, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: NYT, BBC, child sex allegations

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(NaturalNews) He has asserted repeatedly that, as head of the BBC, current New York Times Company CEO Mark Thompson had never heard about allegations of child sexual abuse by the late British television personality Jimmy Savile, but once more those assertions are coming under scrutiny on the heels of new information suggesting otherwise.

Nick Pollard, who is heading up an independent inquiry into the matter, has now confirmed that a senior BBC News official refuted Thompson's declaration that he only first heard of the allegations against Savile after he left the BBC last fall to take his new position at the Times company.

Before moving to New York, Thompson "had served as director-general of the British institution, a role that incorporates that of chief executive and editor-in-chief, since 2004," CNSNews.com reported.

'Never heard any allegations'

In late 2012, Thompson told the Pollard Review that he "never heard" rumors that Savile, a very popular entertainer in Britain who died in late 2011 and has since been accused of having committed hundreds of sexual abuses over a lengthy BBC career - had a "dark side of any kind, sexual or otherwise."

He went on to tell Pollard that until he left the employ of the BBC in September 2012, he hadn't heard of a BBC "Newsnight" investigation into pedophilia allegations involving Savile - which was launched following his death but eventually dropped.

"The main thrust of Pollard's review was to establish whether the BBC, which at the time was honoring Savile with tribute programs, had abandoned the 'Newsnight' story for improper reasons; he concluded that it had not," CNSNews.com said.

Thompson made similar subsequent denials many times over, in other contexts, including during interviews with The New York Times newspaper, the flagship publication of his new company, claiming he had "never heard any allegations" relating to the sexual abuse while still at BBC. Savile is alleged to have sexually molested children over a four-decade period, sometimes on BBC grounds.

Witness says she told Thompson about Savile

Now; however, a British member of Parliament says he has received a letter from Pollard confirming that, during his investigation last year, attorneys for BBC News Director Helen Boaden wrote to him and informed him that Boaden says she personally told Thompson about "the nature of the 'Newsnight' investigation" about nine months before he took the Times job.

MP Rob Wilson, a member of Britain's Conservative Party, had sent a letter himself to Pollard, asking about apparent discrepancies between Boaden's statements (who says she told Thompson about the sex abuse allegations during a December 2011 conversation) and Thompson (who says he never heard anything about the nature of the allegations against Savile before he left the BBC).

"I believe it is fundamentally important that those in positions of public trust be held to account for their actions," Wilson wrote in his letter to Pollard.

"If Mr. Thompson, as Director-General and de facto editor-in-chief of the BBC at the time, did indeed know that there were suspicions or allegations about Savile's conduct and both allowed the tribute programs to be broadcast in December 2011 and failed to act in his remaining nine months as Director-General of the BBC to ensure the BBC put the public record straight, or that it passed on the evidence it held to the police, he should be held to account for this," Wilson said.

In his own reply to Wilson, Pollard confirmed "in a letter from Ms. Boaden's lawyers shortly before my report was published, it was stated that Ms. Boaden did communicate to Mr. Thompson the nature of the Newsnight investigation as far as she knew it when he rang her from BBC headquarters in Salford just before Christmas 2011." He further stated that Thompson did not recall his conversation with Boaden similarly.

That said, Wilson and others say they are "baffled" by Thompson's denials.

Pattern of abuse and cover-up

"Mark Thompson has denied knowing about the nature of the allegations against Jimmy Savile during his time as head of the BBC, despite phoning the head of BBC News to inquire about the BBC's own investigation into Savile, and later being copied into emails about the allegations and even signing off a legal letter in relation to the allegations," Wilson told CNSNews.com. "His office also took calls from journalists in relation to the allegations while he was still Director-General."

Click here to read about yet another BBC figure who knew Savile was a pedophile, but didn't tell authorities.





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