LONDON, UK, (CBS) - In Britain, the BBC is under fire in a child sex abuse scandal. It's accused of failing to control one of its most famous personalities.
He was a flamboyant DJ and TV Bandstand host in the heyday of British sixties and seventies pop culture.
He was a bleach-blonde, mop-top, cigar-chomping national institution the idol of teeny-boppers and younger children across the land, which was convenient for him because it as turns out Jimmy Savile is accused of being a serial child molester who preyed on his fans.
Witnesses say he'd sometimes take them into the motor-home that followed him on charity runs while others allege that he'd take them into his dressing room at the BBC.
Or that he would abuse children during visits to hospitals, or he'd molest them at a mental institution where disturbed children were sent.
Steven George, who before his sex change was a teen-age girl, was one of those institutionalized children. He says, "And he then put his hand between my legs and there was nothing I could do. The kind of institution it was, you couldn't stand up and say oh look this is what this man is doing stop him or whatever, they would have punished us. They wouldn't have believed us."
Jimmy Savile, Sir Jimmy Savile after his knighthood, died a year ago. But the rumors that he was a predatory pedophile persisted, so that a BBC News program began to investigate. But before it could put its report on the air, the story was killed suspiciously just before a series of tribute programs about Savile were about to be broadcast.
The new head of the BBC George Entwistle is now trying to defend it. And in front of a hostile parliamentary committee, denied a cover-up. He says, "This is a gravely serious matter and one cannot look back on it without horror."
Investigations have been launched. Who knew what Savile was up to and why didn't they stop it? Jimmy Savile once rubbed shoulders with the good, the great and the famous.
Now his reputation has been destroyed. And now the question is will he take the reputation of one of the world's great media organizations down with him.
There's an American angle to this sordid story, the man who was in charge of the BBC while the Jimmy Savile story was being suppressed is named Mark Thompson and he's moving to a new job as president and chief executive officer of the New York Times.