Rape charge against Stuart Hall deepens BBC scandal

LONDON Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:19am GMT

1 of 3. British broadcaster Stuart Hall arrives at Preston Magistrates Court in Preston, northern England, January 7, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Phil Noble

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LONDON (Reuters) - A veteran British TV presenter was charged with rape and 14 counts of indecent assault on underage girls, police said on Tuesday, deepening concerns about sex abuse by top BBC personalities decades ago.

Stuart Hall, 83, best known for hosting "It's a Knockout" in the 1970s and 1980s, was questioned after late broadcaster Jimmy Savile was exposed last year as a serial child sex abuser, prompting a flurry of further sex crime allegations.

Hall, who was still appearing regularly on BBC radio until recently, had already been charged with three counts of indecent assault, in December. He denied all charges.

Hall was bailed to appear before magistrates in Preston, northwest England, on February 7.

The rape was alleged to have been committed in 1976 against a 22-year old woman, the police said. The indecent assaults were alleged to have been committed between 1967 and 1986 and to involve 10 girls aged between nine and 16 years.

There was no immediate comment by the BBC, Britain's public broadcaster whose director general was forced out of office by the Savile scandal.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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