April 3, 2013 / 3:05 PM / 5 years ago

First charges brought in Savile sex investigation

LONDON (Reuters) - The first criminal charges have been brought in a wide-ranging British investigation into sex abuse allegations surrounding the late TV presenter Jimmy Savile, a scandal that has ensnared some celebrities and forced the head of the BBC to resign.

David Smith, who is in his 60s, will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on May 8 charged with two counts of indecent assault, two of gross indecency, and one of buggery, all in 1984, prosecutors said.

Savile was one of Britain’s biggest TV stars in the 1970s and 1980s but since his 2011 death, police have discovered he had carried out sex crimes on an unprecedented scale over six decades.

They say he took advantage of his fame to commit 214 offences, including 34 rapes or serious sexual assaults, beginning as long ago as 1955.

Dozens of his alleged victims have sued the BBC in the wake of the scandal, which forced Director-General George Entwistle to stand down after only 54 days in the top job for failing to get to grips with the scandal.

His successor, former Royal Opera House director Tony Hall, started work this week.

The BBC said on its website that Smith, from London, was a chauffeur who worked for the BBC at the time of the alleged offences, but that it was not clear whether the offences he is charged with were in connection with work for the corporation.

So far 11 people have been arrested under Operation Yewtree, some of them high-profile figures like Jim Davidson, a comedian who hosted prime-time shows on the BBC in the 1990s and Max Clifford, Britain’s most high-profile celebrity publicist.

More arrests of well-known people are scheduled in the coming weeks, a senior prosecutor has said.

Reporting by Stephen Addison; Editing by Jon Hemming

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