i Editor's Letter: People who cover up abuse should be ashamed


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The Independent Online


Another day, another alleged cover-up with regard to child abuse allegations. This time they concern the late Sir Jimmy Savile. Everyone now seems to be coming out of the woodwork to admit they "had heard" something but did nothing – from Esther Rantzen and Paul Gambaccini to less well-known figures behind the scenes, who admit they were fearful of losing their jobs.

Coming so soon after Rochdale, and the Catholic Church scandals here and in the USA, the shameful revelations about the Penn State University football programme, the Savile revelations add to a disgraceful rollcall of betrayal. In each case, and here I am forced to say that in Savile's case these are "only" allegations, those who knew something but did nothing, need take a long, hard look at themselves. The Childline founder Rantzen herself said the lesson is clear: we have to listen to children.

That's why I disagree with the few readers who complained that the Savile "cover-up" story this paper splashed on yesterday was too tabloid. Why is it "tabloid" to be concerned about a potential conspiracy of silence involving the BBC, charities, some schools and perhaps the police to keep such serious allegations quiet for so long? And for what? To protect a "national treasure" and the large sums of charity money he raised?

The only thing "disgusting and disappointing" about these claims being made now, is that the poor women who are making them have had to wait a lifetime to be heard. If they are now proven true, and they must be investigated, we should hang our collective heads in shame for once again letting down children to protect adults.