BBC hit by new gang rape claim as Westminster drawn into growing sex scandal

32
2002

  By Bob Duncan
 
Reggie Perrin star Leonard Rossiter, who died in 1984 aged 57, has become the latest celebrity to be named in the Jimmy Savile BBC sex scandal.
 
An unnamed man has accused Rossiter, who played Rigsby in the BBC Sitcom Rising Damp, of performing a sex act whilst watching three BBC employees as they tried to rape the alleged victim.  Police are now investigating after the man gave a statement and detectives are understood to be considering arrests.

At the time of the alleged attack in 1968, the accuser, then 18, was an extra on the set of a controversial BBC play titled The Year of the Sex Olympics.

He said: “In the rehearsal room in TV Centre one BBC man tightly held my wrists while two others were behind me trying to rape me.

“I was the victim of two assaults.  The second time they obviously tipped off Leonard Rossiter because while I was struggling and shouting for help he was in the room. He obviously found it all a big turn-on. He was watching with glee.

“The staff who attacked me were animals and thought they could get away with anything.  It left me devastated and caused great stress.  I get so angry just thinking about it.”
 
The teenager was so disgusted by the attacks he confronted a senior BBC man working on the show.  He said nothing was done, so he stormed off the set with a female extra who said she too was attacked.

Rossiter’s accuser called police after being appalled by stories of sexual abuse within the BBC which have emerged amid the Jimmy Savile affair.

He said: “It is important people know what a cesspit of depravity it was at the BBC.  Staff at Television Centre assumed they could get away with anything.
 
“The fact the BBC didn’t investigate the complaints by my woman colleague and me goes to show what the place was like back then.  BBC staff got away with whatever they wanted.  It’s time now that these people face justice and I have given a full statement to police.”

A BBC spokesman told The Sun newspaper, who broke the story: “The BBC cannot comment on individual cases. It will help the police in any way it can in the course of any investigation.”

This is the latest of a series of sex scandals to befall the BBC since allegations about the behaviour of Jimmy Savile came to light.

Freddie Starr, who was arrested on Thursday, returned for further questioning on Friday.  Starr was arrested on Thursday by police officers investigating the Savile abuse scandal and bailed in the early hours of Friday morning.

Starr, 69, is being interviewed on suspicion of sexual offences and falls under the strand of the investigation classed as “Savile and others”. He has strongly denied accusations linked to the abuse claims.

Last month he branded Savile “despicable” and “disgusting”, and urged police to interview him so he could clear his name.

His arrest follows that of Gary Glitter (Paul Gadd) by officers working on Operation Yewtree.

Savile, who died last year at the age of 84, is now believed to have been one of the UK’s most prolific abusers, with about 300 possible victims.

Scotland Yard is leading a national investigation into the television and radio star’s activities.  Detectives are following 400 lines of inquiry

The BBC has launched an inquiry into the culture and practices at the corporation in the era of Savile’s alleged sexual abuse.

It is also looking at the decision-making process which saw a recent Newsnight investigation into Savile’s activities shelved.  This review will report back on its findings later this month.

Savile’s estate, reportedly worth £4.3m, has been frozen in response to the mounting allegations. It is expected that many of the alleged victims will eventually make compensation claims against the estate.

MEANWHILE, speculation is mounting over the identity of a senior Conservative said to be involved in the rape of young boys who were residents at a North Wales Care Home.  The allegations centre on claims by a former resident of the care home, Steve Messham of an elite paedophile ring that preyed on vulnerable youngsters.

Mr Messham has said he first reported the abuse to police in the seventies, but was dismissed and branded a liar.  Mr Messham claims he was taken to a room, tied up and raped by a senior Tory and the son of a Lord.

Speaking to the Sunday Express, Mr Messham said: “It happened time and time again, it was terrifying. There were a group of paedophiles who would regularly abuse boys at the home.

“One of them was a very senior member of the Conservative Party and someone very close to the establishment.  Most of the abuse took place on a Sunday evening for some reason, I don’t know why.

“Myself, sometimes a few other boys, would be picked up by a car parked by the gate and we would be driven to the Crest Hotel in the centre of Wrexham.  We’d be taken up to a room where a number of men would be waiting.

“On one occasion, this political figure was in a room with eight other men, including the son of a lord.  I was then tied up and they each took turns to rape me.  This probably went on for about two hours and I was plied with alcohol, presumably as a way of anaesthetising me from the pain of what was happening.  They obviously knew as well that it would affect my memory the following morning.  After I was assaulted, this politician made it quite clear what would happen to me if I dared tell anyone.  He warned me that if I mentioned anything about the abuse, he would have me killed.

“This man would never say he would do it personally, but he was someone with immense power and I took his threat very, very seriously.”

Last month Labour MP Tom Watson announced in the Commons that a “powerful paedophile network” may have had links to a former prime minister and parliament.  Writing on his blog this weekend, Mr Watson claims that a retired child protection professional suspected for many years that there was a cover-up.

He writes: “Two former police officers have raised their concerns of cover-ups.  Child protection specialists have raised their fears that the network of convicted paedophile Peter Righton, the nexus of the group, was wider than at first thought.  Others have identified a former cabinet minister who regularly abused young boys.

“Some have raised mysterious early deaths, disappeared children, suspicious fires, intimidation and threats.”

Mr Watson has claimed he himself has been warned his own safety is at risk if he continues to pursue the matter.