Lifestyle & Belief

Jimmy Savile to be formally investigated by Scotland Yard


Sir Jimmy Savile in 2006.


Matthew Lewis

Jimmy Savile, who died last year at age 84, will be the subject of a criminal investigation by Scotland Yard over "unprecedented" allegations of sexual abuse. 

The legendary BBC Newsnight broadcaster's scandal has widened as police reported Friday that they had 200 potential victims and over 400 more leads, the New York Times reported.  

The police force has also allowed the BBC to begin its own investigation into the allegations against their late employee, The Telegraph reported. "Newsnight" reportedly pulled a segment about Savile's behavior, and BBC has been criticized for not responding to reports of abuse sooner. 

"We are dealing with alleged abuse on an unprecedented scale," Police Commander Peter Spindler told reporters. "The profile of this operation has empowered a staggering number of victims to come forward to report the sexual exploitation which occurred during their childhood." 

More from GlobalPost: Sex abuse scandal prompts crisis at the BBC

Several of Savile's victims came forward about the broadcast personality's abuse on an ITV documentary that aired two weeks ago, which helped prompt the Scotland Yard investigation, according to the Daily Beast. Some of his victims were as young as 12; others alleged the assaults occurred on BBC property. 

"It is quite common that where one person is found to have committed child sex abuse in an institutional context – most likely a school but also in hospitals and now as we have discovered at the BBC – it is usually a sign that the institution's child protection practices are inadequate," said Jonathan West, a prominent child protection activist, told the Guardian.

"And it quite often happens that more than one person manages to take advantage of that," he added.