LONDON — Some 261 celebrities and politicians, including sports, TV and music stars, are being investigated for alleged child sex abuse, British police have revealed.
They are among more than 1,400 men suspected by police of being sex predators, as the Home Secretary warned it is only the “tip of the iceberg.”
The rogues gallery includes 135 TV, film and radio stars, 43 musicians and seven sports figures as well as 76 politicians, the officer in charge of the issue has disclosed.
Hundreds of schools, religious institutions, children’s homes and sports clubs are also implicated.
Chief Const. Simon Bailey said reports of child sex abuse were increasing on a daily basis and he expected police to receive approximately 116,000 allegations before the end of this year.
The surge is partly a result of the Jimmy Savile scandal in 2012, and Bailey warned victims will run “in to the thousands.” Savile, a celebrated DJ, media celebrity and the long-time host of BBC’s Top of the Pops, was accused of child sex abuse but never charged before his death in 2011. Subsequent investigation led police to believe he may have been one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders, with as many as 450 alleged victims, including adults and children.
The sex-abuse figures released this week, from the new police co-ordinating hub, Operation Hydrant, reveal for the first time the massive scale of inquiries into historic and current abuse cases.
Speaking separately, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, told rank-and-file officers that the picture was the “tip of the iceberg.”
Bailey, the head of Norfolk Police and lead on child sex abuse for the National Police Chiefs Council, said the scale of child abuse was “stark.”
“The referrals are increasing on an almost daily basis, so the numbers I refer to today are a snapshot in time,” he said.
He said the figures suggested more sex abuse was being perpetrated.
Officers have identified 357 different institutions linked to the alleged abuse, including 154 schools, 75 children’s homes, 40 religious institutions and nine prisons.
Forces have had to shift resources from other departments to focus on historic sex crimes.
Several celebrities have been convicted for historic sex abuse, including children’s entertainer Rolf Harris, 85, and PR guru Max Clifford, 72.
But public confidence in the Crown Prosecution Service’s willingness to prosecute VIPs was shaken when it announced that it would not prosecute Labour peer Lord Greville Janner, 86, despite having enough evidence, because he has dementia.
Bailey also warned the arrival of superfast Internet is likely to see “more and more” abuse of youngsters, including the live-streaming of abuse on the web. He said predators have attempted to groom hundreds of thousands of children in Britain through Internet sites and chat rooms.
“We assess there might be 50,000 people who are viewing indecent images of children online,” he said.
Speaking at the Police Federation annual conference in Bournemouth, May said: “We will need to face up to the changing nature of crime and the impact on police forces, including the much greater reporting of previously ignored or under-reported crimes such as child sexual abuse.
“I have said before that what we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg.
“So let me be clear, I am committed to ensuring the police have the resources they need to investigate these appalling crimes and bring perpetrators to justice.”
But Jon Brown, the anti-sex abuse lead at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said: “There is not enough provision, and as far as adult survivors of abuse are concerned, it is extremely patchy.”
Source: National Post