BBC Broadcasting House in London. The accusations of widespread abuse by former presenter Jimmy Savile, some of it on BBC premises, have led to one of the worst crises in the broadcaster's history.
Credit: Peter Macdiarmid

The controversy around the BBC child sexual abuse scandal continues to grow, as more questions are being asked of former BBC head Mark Thompson, the incoming president and chief executive of the New York Times.

The investigation centers around former television host Jimmy Savile, who is accused of molesting as many as 300 young victims during his career. He was 84 when he passed away a year ago.

The New York Times reported Thompson was in charge of the BBC from 2004 until last month, not during the time of the alleged abuse, but questions remain "why an investigation by BBC's 'Newsnight' into pedophilia accusations against Mr Savile was killed" and replaced by a more favorable tribute to the entertainer.

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Reuters said that Thompson has denied knowledge of the "Newsnight" decision and was not involved in the decision to kill the program.

But he did acknowledge a "chance meeting" with a journalist who mentioned the "Newsnight" investigation, though did not provide details, Reuters reported.

"I do not believe there is anything that I've done in relation to this matter which should in any way impinge on my abilities to fully discharge the responsibilities I'll have at the New York Times," Thompson said.

As GlobalPost reported on Tuesday, the BBC's director general George Entwistle told British lawmakers the BBC suffered a "cultural problem" that allowed the child abuse.

It emerged on Thursday that police had investigated a sexual assault alleged to have taken place on BBC premises back in the 1980s, at the height of Savile's popularity.

A former police officer has said he looked into a claim that Savile attacked a victim in his caravan near BBC Television Centre in west London, but there was no conclusive evidence, the Telegraph reported.

Such revelations are fuelling suspicions that senior BBC staff ignored or even helped cover up the allegations against Savile, a charge that will continue to haunt the corporation "for months if not years," media strategy analyst Claire Enders told GlobalPost last week.

Police have so far identified some 300 possible victims, 100 of them in the past week alone, according to the BBC. All except two are women; one is Savile's own great-niece.

Most of the allegations center on Savile, but some the people interviewed have said that others were also involved. To any perpetrators still living, Metropolitan Police Commander Peter Spindler warned: "We will come for you."

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