Pop star Glitter arrested in British sex abuse probe
LONDON, United Kingdom - British police arrested 1970s glam rocker Gary Glitter on Sunday, October 28, as they probe the mountain of sexual abuse allegations against the late TV star Jimmy Savile that have plunged the BBC into crisis.
The former pop star was later bailed to appear before officers in mid-December as part of the investigation police have termed "Savile and others", according to a Scotland Yard statement.
Glitter is the first person arrested in an investigation which has snowballed since claims that Savile molested underage girls were aired in a television documentary earlier this month.
Glitter, 68, the king of the glam rock era with a string of stomping hits, has served a jail term in Britain for downloading child pornography and in Vietnam for child sex offenses.
Wearing a hat, dark glasses and a winter coat, Glitter was seen being escorted from his central London home into a waiting vehicle early Sunday.
"Officers working on Operation Yewtree have today arrested a man in his 60s in connection with the investigation," a Scotland Yard spokesman said.
"The man, from London, was arrested at approximately 7:15 am (0715 GMT) on suspicion of sexual offenses, and has been taken into custody at a London police station."
The operation has identified around 300 possible victims of Savile over a 40-year period, which would make the eccentric BBC presenter one of the worst offenders in British history.
The claims against Savile have plunged the BBC into crisis and destroyed the reputation of a man who, with his garish tracksuits and ever-present cigar, was one of the most famous faces on British television for decades.
Savile, who died on October 29 last year aged 84, also single-handedly raised tens of millions of pounds (dollars, euros) for charity.
The claims against him in an ITV documentary gave dozens of others the courage to come forward to police with allegations about Savile and others involved with him who are still alive.
Savile's great-niece on Sunday told Sky News she was abused twice by the DJ and that the family turned a blind eye to her claims.
"They both happened during a family gathering," said Caroline Robinson, 49.
"Jimmy got it down to perfection, where he managed to do it and what he did and nobody noticed.
"After it happened when I was 12, I spoke to my grandmother, I told her what Jimmy had done. Her reply was, 'It's only Jimmy, it doesn't matter, I'll sort it out'."
BBC's reputation 'on the line'
Public relations guru Max Clifford claimed dozens of celebrities from the period have contacted him in recent days because they are "frightened" of being implicated in the widening scandal.
He said the stars were worried because at their peak they had lived a hedonistic lifestyle where young girls threw themselves at them but they "never asked for anybody's birth certificate".
The Vatican said Sunday it regretted conferring a papal knighthood on Savile in 1990, but that there was no way to revoke the honor.
The Vatican is "deeply saddened" that Savile was made a knight commander of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II, an honor that "in the light of recent information, should certainly not have been conferred," said Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.
In Britain, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said it was right that the police were "looking to see who is still around who was involved, and criminal proceedings should follow if people were guilty of participating in these offenses alongside Jimmy Savile. That is of paramount importance."
The allegations against Savile include that he molested young girls on BBC premises.
The BBC has announced an independent probe into the BBC's culture and practices during the Savile years.
Former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten, the chairman of the BBC Trust, the corporation's governing body, said the Savile revelations had put the BBC's reputation "on the line".
"The filth piles up," he wrote in The Mail on Sunday newspaper.
"Can it really be the case that no one knew what he was doing? Did some turn a blind eye to criminality?
"The BBC must tell the truth and face up to the truth about itself, however terrible."
Glitter was the king of the over-the-top glam era, complete with extravagant make-up, bouffant wigs, silver jumpsuits and high boots.
He sold more then 20 million records and had a string of hits like "I'm The Leader Of The Gang (I Am)" and "Rock and Roll (Parts 1 and 2)".
He was convicted in Vietnam in March 2006 of "obscene acts" with two girls aged 11 and 12, and returned to London in August 2008 after his release from prison. - James Pheby, Agence France-Presse