By SYLVIA HUI
The sex abuse scandal surrounding the late BBC children’s television host Jimmy Savile widened on Sunday as police arrested former glam rock star and convicted sex offender Gary Glitter in connection with the case, British media said.
Police would not directly identify the suspect arrested Sunday, but media including the BBC and Press Association reported he was the 68-year-old Glitter.
The musician made it big with the crowd-pleasing hit “Rock & Roll (Part 2),” a mostly instrumental anthem that has been a staple at American sporting events thanks to its catchy “hey” chorus. But he fell into disgrace after being convicted on child abuse charges in Britain and Vietnam.
On Sunday, the BBC and Sky News showed footage of Glitter, who wore a hat, a dark coat and sunglasses, being taken from his home by officers and driven away.
British police do not generally identify suspects under arrest by name until they are charged. When asked about Glitter, a spokesman said only that the force arrested a man in his 60s early Sunday morning in London on suspicion of sexual offenses in connection with the Savile probe. He remains in custody in a London police station, police said.
Hundreds of potential victims have come forward since police began their investigation into sex abuse allegations against Savile, the longtime host of popular shows “Top of the Pops” and “Jim’ll Fix It” who died at age 84 last year. Most allege abuse by Savile, but some said they were abused by Savile and others.
Glitter is the first suspect to be arrested in the scandal, which has raised questions about whether the BBC turned a blind eye to the alleged sexual crimes. It was not immediately clear if Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, and Savile knew each other.
Glitter rose to fame in the 1970s with a string of U.K. hits and his look of shiny jumpsuits, silver platform shoes and bouffant wigs, but his music has often been shunned since his abuse convictions. In 2006, the NFL advised its football teams not to use the Glitter version of “Rock and Roll (Part 2)” at games.
Glitter was jailed in Britain in 1999 for possessing child pornography, and convicted in 2006 in Vietnam of committing “obscene acts with children” _ offenses involving girls aged 10 and 11. He was deported back to Britain in 2008.
Police have said that though the majority of cases it is investigating related to Savile alone, some involved the entertainer and other, unidentified suspects. In addition, some potential victims who reported abuse by Savile also told police about separate allegations against unidentified men that did not involve the BBC host.
The scandal has horrified Britain with revelations that Savile cajoled and coerced vulnerable teens into having sex with him in his car, in his camper van, and even in dingy dressing rooms on BBC premises.
One witness told the BBC that she once saw Glitter having sex with a schoolgirl in Savile’s dressing room at the broadcaster’s TV center in the 1970s. Glitter has denied the allegations.
On Sunday, the chairman of the BBC Trust said he was committed to finding out the true scale of the scandal to save the broadcaster’s reputation.
The BBC has set up an independent inquiry into the corporation’s culture and practices in the years Savile worked there. It also launched a separate inquiry into whether its journalists dropped an investigation into the allegations.