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Esther Rantzen criticises Jimmy Savile investigation

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By John Glenday, Reporter

January 7, 2013 | 2 min read

ChildLine founder Esther Rantzen has launched an outspoken attack against Operation Yewtree after claiming that it is concentrating on the wrong people and sown confusion.

Speaking to The Sunday Post Rantzen claimed that some high-profile figures quizzed by police were not in fact suspected of child abuse and were being unfairly tainted by association.

Most recently this saw former TV gameshow host Jim Davidson arrested on suspicion of assaulting two women in their twenties around 25 years ago, a move which Rantzen believes has confused the situation.

Rantzen said: “When Yewtree swoops – and celebrity after celebrity has been targeted by them – we assume they’ve uncovered yet more sexual abuse of children. But it turns out Jim Davidson has not been accused of abusing any children.

“He is, of course, innocent unless he is proved guilty, and he vigorously denies the accusations. But the danger is that he’s now tainted, and will be forever. And the taint is the false implication that he was somehow involved with the Savile crimes against children.

“Exactly why have they arrested Freddie Starr, Dave Lee Travis, Max Clifford and others? Nobody has yet been charged – when and if they are, we will be better informed. But, in the meantime, all these people have been tainted.

“Operation Yewtree should go back to its original purpose and focus on child abuse. The label should be limited specifically to allegations of the sexual abuse of children by those who committed their crimes alongside Savile. We must discover whether there was a paedophile ring. We urgently need to know if others... also escaped justice.

“Let’s not label every sexual crime by a celebrity over the past 40 years as Yewtree. All sexual crimes are sickening, whether they are attacks on adult men or women or on children.

“I’m not... implying complaints should not be taken seriously and investigated. Of course not. Just that unless it’s a crime against a child, don’t label it Yewtree.

“Commander Peter Spindler, split your unit, and find another operational name for accusations that have nothing to do with children, nor with Savile. And concentrate on the real question. Why did it take so long for the truth about Savile to emerge?”

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