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BBC scandal grows with 300 abuse allegations

LONDON — The scale of the sexual abuse scandal at the BBC widened significantly Thursday as police reported that the number of people accusing one of Britain’s best-known television hosts of misconduct had risen to about 300 from 200, and said other people may have acted with him.

The police account also seemed to reinforce British news reports that the inquiries into accusations of sexual abuse against the host, Jimmy Savile, were spreading to broader questions about possible misconduct in other parts of the BBC and to suggestions of networks of abuse at hospitals associated with Savile’s ostensibly philanthropic works.

Police said the number of potential victims had increased as more people contacted officers with abuse accusations. All but two of the cases involved girls, Peter Spindler, a police commander, told reporters. He said detectives had interviewed 130 people so far, and those conversations had produced 114 ‘‘allegations of crime.’’

He also said that while most of the accusations related to Savile, other people may have acted either with him or separately. No arrests have been made so far, but officers are ‘‘preparing an arrest strategy,’’ he said.


The scandal has drawn in several top figures at the BBC, including its current director general, George Entwistle, who took over in September from Mark Thompson, the incoming president and chief executive of The New York Times Co.

Thompson was director general of the BBC when the editor of a current affairs program canceled an investigation into Savile in late 2011, just as other divisions of the BBC were planning Christmastime tributes to him a few months after his death at age 84.

Thompson has said repeatedly that he knew nothing about the investigation by the ‘‘Newsnight’’ program while it was under way, had no role in canceling it and also had heard none of the suspicions about Savile.


On Thursday, Thompson won an enthusiastic endorsement from Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the chairman of The New York Times Co. and the publisher of The Times.