Feb 26, 10:55 AM EST

Jimmy Savile report finds widespread sex abuse with impunity


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LONDON (AP) -- Two new reports into widespread sex abuse by the late BBC entertainer Jimmy Savile have found that victims' complaints about his activities were ignored.

The reports released Thursday showed an extensive pattern of abuse by Savile at numerous National Health Service hospitals where the celebrity broadcaster was given wide access to patients, even though he was known by some staff to be a sexual predator.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told Parliament that Savile's celebrity status allowed him to get away with hideous sex crimes.

"The power of celebrity or money must never again blind people to repeated clear signals that extremely vulnerable people are being abused," he said.

Savile was so famous in Britain that he had met with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and received a knighthood.

The reports detailed numerous cases of abuse of patients who were helpless to protect themselves.

One report concluded he had abused roughly 60 patients at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital where he was an active fundraiser. The victims included an eight-year-old boy who had tonsil surgery, an 11-year-old girl being treated for cancer, a pregnant mother and a 19-year-old paralyzed woman.

The report suggests his crimes were known to some hospital staff as early as 1973 but no action was taken, allowing his attacks to continue for 20 years.

Kate Lampard, author of one of the reports, said British hospitals may still be vulnerable to similar attacks from predators like Savile.

"His status as a celebrity and a fundraiser, whose presence had been encouraged by senior managers, meant that staff who observed him behaving inappropriately or who received reports of him committing sexual abuses were reluctant to challenge Savile directly or to escalate matters," she said.

His reputation as a popular TV personality collapsed after he died in 2011, when hundreds of witnesses and victims came forward accusing him of sexual abuse.

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