Top UK entertainer sexually abused hundreds, mostly children

A long-awaited investigation of top UK entertainer Jimmy Savile, who died in 2011, reveals that he sexually assaulted hundreds at BBC premises and at hospitals where he performed charity work. The victims were mostly children.

Savile, one of Britain's biggest TV stars in the 1970s and 1980s, abused youngsters at 13 hospitals where he did voluntary work as a porter and fundraiser, and even at a hospice treating terminally ill patients.

The youngest victim was an 8-year-old boy, and the last of the 214 offences of which he is suspected took place just two years before his death in 2011 at the age of 84.

"He groomed a nation," said Commander Peter Spindler, who led the police investigation and said the scale of his crimes were without precedence.

This whole thing has been mindboggling. Savile was one of the nation's most prominent entertainers and occupied a unique place in British culture; the search for illustrative U.S. analogues is almost impossible. Imagine a cross between Jimmy Durante and Jerry Sandusky, with long and incompetently self-cut bleached hair, huge cigars and cheap gangsta outfits, grossly masculine yet mockingly effeminate, lauded all the while for superficial childrens' charity work.

Part of his schtick was to twist his face into charicatures of human surprise and fear, leering into the camera, as if shouting "I am a monster! Can't you see?". He triggered fight-or-flight reactions for his own amusement—an avatar of the BBC's all-pervasive monoculture, he would never be exposed while alive.

But everyone always knew, and yet nothing ever quite clicked together in a way that made it clear to enough people just how bad he was. He wrote about having sex with underage girls in his 1970s autobiography; in 2001, he refused to tell interviewer Louis Theroux that he was not a pedophile. And yet he kept at it almost until his death--shortly after which point the BBC killed its own internal investigation for reasons that, like everything else about Jimmy Savile, never quite coalesce into something that makes sense.