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Probe into Tower Hamlets children's home in Jimmy Savile 'sex abuse'

PUBLISHED: 15:26 27 March 2014 | UPDATED: 19:58 27 March 2014

Jimmy Savile

Jimmy Savile

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Two children's homes in east London are among 21 homes and schools where claims that Jimmy Savile abused youngsters have been made, it emerged today.

The allegations from the 1960s, 70s and 80s must now be fully investigated by local authorities, the government has insisted.

They involve St Leonard’s Home in Essex, which came under Tower Hamlets council until it closed down nearly 20 years ago, and Barnardo’s in Barkingside, near Ilford.

St Leonard’s was closed down in the 1990s following a separate sex abuse scandal involving staff who were jailed at the time.

A Town Hall spokesman revealed: “A former children’s home run by Tower Hamlets in the 1990s was subject to a police investigation into sexual abuse, resulting in some staff members being prosecuted and jailed.

“The latest allegations made public (involving Savile) appear to pre-date this investigation and the council will be investigating them as a matter of priority and working with the relevant authorities.”

Some 17 organisations including Tower Hamlets council have been advised by the Department for Education of the possibility of a link between Savile and children’s homes and other services run for children.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said: “It is right that steps are taken to explore these allegations, to find out what happened and why.

“I have decided that the Department for Education should pass the information to appropriate organisations for further investigation, in most cases the local authority.”

The information was uncovered by the Met Police a year ago which said the late Jimmy Savile abused more than 200 youngsters over six decades.

The former BBC DJ and TV presenter died in 2011 at the age of 84, months before the sex abuse allegations came to light.

A Met Police report in January, 2013, said Savile had been a “prolific, predatory sex offender” who was able to hide in plain sight while abusing his victims. A second report said he could have been prosecuted in 2009 if victims had been “taken more seriously”.

Other children’s institutions were in Islington, Southwark, Hounslow, Kent, Surrey, Oxfordshire, Bournemouth, Devon, Gloucestershire, Manchester, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, the Education Department has revealed.

The NHS is already investigating 33 hospitals that had links with Savile after police passed information to the Department of Health.

The new inquiries ordered by the Education Secretary today are being overseen by a human rights lawyer.

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