BBC presenter ‘who paid teen £35k for explicit photos’ was not spoken to by bosses for seven weeks

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The BBC today admitted that it did not speak to the star at the centre of the sex pictures scandal until last week – almost two months after they first received a complaint about him from the teenager’s family.

The Corporation has admitted that a member of the young person’s family turned up at Broadcasting House on May 18 ‘to make a complaint about the behaviour of a BBC presenter’.

It appears the corporation may have only made three attempts to contact the relative by phone or email afterwards – and made no attempts at all after June 6.  

And it was only when The Sun went to the BBC’s press office last Thursday with allegations the household name had allegedly paid £35,000 to the youth for lewd pictures, that bosses actually spoke to the presenter.

The parents of the drug addict teenager have repeatedly accused the BBC of lying about what they knew and failing to confront the unnamed star.

Speaking for the first time with the BBC facing yet another crisis, Director General Tim Davie admitted he had ‘paused’ their internal investigation while the police consider if any crimes have been committed after a meeting with Scotland Yard yesterday. 

But he appeared to admit this morning that mistakes had been made in the way the complaint was initially handled, including an apparent failure to get hold of the parents in the case. He said: ‘There will be lessons to be learned and how processes could be improved. Immediately. I have asked that we assess how some complaints or red flags up the organisation’.

The BBC, led by director-general Tim Davie, met the Met Police yesterday, led by Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley

The BBC, led by director-general Tim Davie, met the Met Police yesterday, led by Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley

The BBC, led by director-general Tim Davie (left), met the Met Police yesterday, led by Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley (right), yesterday. Today Mr Davie spoke for the first time

The teen at the centre of the BBC sex pics scandal has denied anything inappropriate or unlawful took place between themselves and an unnamed presenter. Pictured: A file image of BBC Broadcasting House in London 

 Speaking at the launch of the BBC’s annual report he said: ‘As you know. Yesterday, the BBC corporate investigations team had a meeting with the police in relation to the information provided to the BBC by The Sun newspaper on Thursday.

BBC’s reveals timeline of events

May 18 

  • The complainant (a family member) attended a BBC building, where they sought to make a complaint about the behaviour of a BBC presenter.

May 19

  • The complainant contacted BBC Audience Services; the details of this contact were referred to the BBC’s Corporate Investigations Team.
  • The BBC’s Corporate Investigations Team assessed the information contained in the complaint provided from Audience Services. The assessment made was that on the basis of the information provided it did not include an allegation of criminality, but nonetheless merited further investigation.
  • The BBC’s Corporate Investigations Team emailed the complainant stating how seriously the BBC takes the issue and seeking additional information to verify the claims being made; there was no response to this contact.
  • Checks were also made to verify the identity of the complainant. This is a standard procedure to confirm that the complainant is the person they say they are.

June 6 

  • Having received no response to the email referenced above, a phone call was made to the mobile number provided by the complainant by the BBC’s Corporate Investigations Team; this call did not connect.
  • Following these attempts to make contact with the complainant, the Corporate Investigations Team were due to return to the matter in the coming weeks. No additional attempts to contact the complainant were made after 6 June, however the case remained open throughout.

July 6 

  • The Sun newspaper informed the BBC via the Corporate Press Office of allegations concerning a BBC presenter; it became clear that the source of the claims was from the same family as approached the BBC on 18 and 19 May. This was the first time that the Director-General or any executive directors at the BBC were aware of the case.
  • The claims made by The Sun contained new allegations, that were different to the matters being considered by BBC Corporate Investigations.
  • The BBC initiated an incident management group to lead the response to this case, involving senior BBC executives including the Director-General. The Acting Chairman was updated, and the Board was regularly updated in the coming days.
  • A senior manager held the first conversation on this matter with the presenter concerned, to make him aware of the claims being outlined by The Sun. It was agreed that the presenter would not be on air while this matter was being considered.

July 7

  • Following The Sun’s contact, the BBC’s Corporate Investigations team contacted the complainant again, who was in touch with the BBC’s investigators.
  • The BBC’s Serious Case Management Framework (SCMF) was initiated and the investigation being undertaken by the Corporate Investigations Team was brought into the SCMF, which is chaired by a Human Resources Director.
  • The BBC also made contact with the Police with regard to this matter.

July 8 

  • The complainant sent the BBC some materials related to the complaint.

July 9 

  • BBC issued an update to staff and the media; the BBC also confirmed that it had suspended the presenter.

July 10 

  • The BBC met with the Police, to report the matter and discuss how to progress the investigation. 
  • The Police have requested that the BBC pause its investigations into the allegations while they scope future work.

As a result of this. The BBC has been asked to pause its own investigations into the allegations while they scope future work. We will pass any material that we have to them.

‘We know that questions have been asked about how this case was initially managed, and the timeline of events. So today we have published an update that sets out key dates and further detail.

‘The BBC has processes and protocols for receiving information and managing allegations when they are first made. We always take these matters seriously and seek to manage them with care.

‘The events of recent days have shown how complex and challenging these kinds of cases can be and how vital it is for they’re handled with the utmost diligence. That’s why it’s important that we ensure these processes are robust and working appropriately.

‘Of course, there will be lessons to be learned and how processes could be improved. Immediately. I have asked that we assess how some complaints or red flags up the organisation. Furthermore, we will take time to properly review the current specific protocols and procedures to ensure they remain sufficient based on anything we learned from this case. This work will be led by our Chief Operating Officer Peter Vezina that who will report to the BBC board’.

When asked about the difference between the complaint on May 19 and the complaint made in The Sun story, Tim Davie said: “The process is that we did receive a call as you can see in the timeline on May 19 that was taken by Audience Services Team who then make a summary of the call and put it to our highly experienced Corporate Investigations team.

“On the basis of the information they had at that point, it did not include an allegation of criminality, but none the less was very serious and they wanted to follow it up, and you can see the attempts to follow it up on the timeline.

“It was serious but the key was their assessment was it did not include an allegation of criminality.

“When The Sun made new allegations on July 6 they were different to the matters considered by BBC Corporate Investigations and those new allegations clearly related to potential criminal activity, criminality, that in a nutshell is the difference.”

The family insist they have spoken out to save their vulnerable loved-one, who they claim first met the broadcaster aged 17 and used the cash to buy crack cocaine.

The young person at the centre of the controversy said last night, through a lawyer, that nothing inappropriate or unlawful happened with the unnamed presenter. 

But according to The Sun, the parents insist they have bank statements and screenshots to back them up.

Meanwhile MPs threatened to name the star involved in the House of Commons. A poll found that one in six people know who the scandal hit household name is.

The teenager’s mum said: ‘It is sad but we stand by our account and we hope they get the help they need. We did this to help – and the presenter has got into their head. How did they afford a lawyer? We are so sad.’ The stepfather added: ‘Without the money, my partner’s child would have no drugs,’ adding that he had spoken to the BBC for an hour in May. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has described allegations that a BBC presenter paid for sexual images from a teenager as ‘shocking’ and ‘concerning’.

He told reporters on the plane to the Nato summit in Lithuania: ‘They were shocking, concerning allegations, of course they were.

‘The Culture Secretary spoke to the director general, I think it was on Sunday.

‘And he has reassured that the process they are undertaking is vigorous and will be swift, so we’ve had those reassurances.

‘And I think that is the right thing to do because, given the concerning nature of the allegations, it is right that they are investigated swiftly and rigorously.

‘And it is important we now let that carry on.’

Asked if he had been told who the BBC presenter in question was, Mr Sunak replied: ‘No.

‘But I’ve been reassured that the process will be conducted vigorously and swiftly.’

Politicians have suggested they could intervene and name the broadcaster who has been engulfed in the scandal, but as of yet has still not been publicly identified by the corporation.

It comes after a slew of celebrities were forced to make statements denying it was them as speculation and rumours spread like wildfire on social media following initial reports that the presenter had paid the teenager £35,000 for the photos.

The young person has claimed through a lawyer that the allegations are ‘rubbish’ and nothing inappropriate or unlawful has taken place. 

However, their mother and step-father say they have a damning dossier of evidence including bank transactions, screenshots of messages between the pair and even held a one-hour briefing with the Beeb.

The parents claim the money their child received from the BBC star funded a spiralling crack cocaine addiction and say they spoke to the representatives from the corporation hours after the presenter tried to meet the teen at a train station.

The BBC has suspended the star and taken them off air while an investigation takes place, but has refused to name them so far.

MPs have been talking about using parliamentary privilege to put an end to the speculation by identifying the BBC star in the Commons, the Mail can reveal.

A former Cabinet minister said: ‘There is a discussion going on about whether to name this individual.

‘Parliamentary privilege has been used before to identify people who have tried to use injunctions to keep their names out of the Press.

HOW BBC PRESENTER ‘SEX PICS’ SCANDAL CAME TO LIGHT

2020: The BBC presenter allegedly began requesting sexually explicit photographs from the teenager.

May 19: Alleged victim’s family complained to the BBC, asking for the presenter to be told to stop sending their child money.

June: The accused host allegedly attended a party alongside BBC senior executives. 

July 7: The BBC star was said to have been taken off air – but has not been suspended.

The alleged victim’s family details the accusations in a newspaper interview, claiming the presenter paid for the explicit photographs for three years. 

The alleged victim’s mother also claimed the teenager used the cash to fund their spiralling drug habit. 

July 8: It is revealed the presenter could face a police probe over potential crimes which carry a maximum 14-year prison sentence

Several major BBC stars – including Rylan Clark, Jeremy Vine and Gary Lineker – confirm they are not the man behind the scandal.

July 9: Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer holds ‘urgent talks’ with BBC boss Tim Davie.

BBC suspends the male staff member whom allegations were made against. 

Director-general Tim Davie sends an internal email to staff reiterating that the BBC is taking the allegations ‘incredibly seriously’.

It is understood that the BBC has been in contact with police. 

July 10: Representatives from the BBC meet with the Metropolitan Police.

In a letter reported by BBC News At Six, the young person said via a lawyer: ‘For the avoidance of doubt, nothing inappropriate or unlawful has taken place between our client and the BBC personality and the allegations reported in The Sun newspaper are ‘rubbish’.’

The legal representative also said the young person told The Sun on Friday evening before the newspaper published the story that there was ‘no truth to it’, the BBC reported.

The mother and stepfather of the young person stood by their allegation, and questioned how their child could afford the lawyer, The Sun reported.

The newspaper alleged that the mother said: ‘It is sad but we stand by our account and we hope they get the help they need.

‘We did this to help – and the presenter has got into their head. How did they afford a lawyer?’

‘The circumstances here are slightly different, but the issues are the same – do we have free speech in this country, or do we just accept a creeping privacy law made by judges, which parliament has never approved?’

Privacy laws have kept broadcasters and newspapers from naming the presenter involved, although a snap poll found that one in six Britons quizzed by reporters can already identify the correct household name. 

The Daily Telegraph reported that the BBC star has hired specialist privacy and media lawyers at Harbottle & Lewis – the same firm used by the Royal Family – in a bid to keep his reputation and his job.

Last night the scandal took a dramatic twist  as the young person at the heart of the row and their parents disputed each other’s accounts.

After days of silence the teenager rebutted the accusations, insisting through their lawyer that nothing inappropriate or unlawful had taken place, calling them ‘rubbish’.

In a letter reported by BBC News At Six, the young person said via a lawyer: ‘For the avoidance of doubt, nothing inappropriate or unlawful has taken place between our client and the BBC personality and the allegations reported in The Sun newspaper are ‘rubbish’.’

The waters were muddied further when their parents spoke out only hours later to confirm they stood by their claims, adding they felt the presenter involved had ‘got into their [child’s] head’. 

Speaking to The Sun, the mother said: ‘It is sad but we stand by our account and we hope they get the help they need.

‘We did this to help – and the presenter has got into their head. How did they afford a lawyer?

‘We are so sad.’

The step-father added: ‘We are disappointed they made a statement. It’s not true.’

The corporation earlier said it had been investigating a complaint since May, and that new claims of a ‘different nature’ were brought to it on Thursday.

But the step-father disputed this, telling the Sun that the corporation was ‘not telling the truth’.

‘I told them the youngster was 20 and it had been going on for three years.’

He added: ‘I told the BBC I had gone to the police in desperation but they couldn’t do anything as they said it wasn’t illegal. They knew all of this.’

He also said the money did not stop, adding: ‘I don’t even think they spoke to him.’

The BBC say they did call the family in June, but nobody picked up.

He added that he only wanted the BBC to stop so the teen would stop getting drugs.

He said: ‘Without the money, my partner’s child would have no drugs.’

As well as being in touch with the police, the BBC is carrying out its own enquiries and talking to the young person’s family.

A spokesman for the Sun said: ‘We have reported a story about two very concerned parents who made a complaint to the BBC about the behaviour of a presenter and the welfare of their child.

‘Their complaint was not acted upon by the BBC.

‘We have seen evidence that supports their concerns. It’s now for the BBC to properly investigate.’

Why Mail can’t tell readers who the presenter is 

Why has the BBC presenter not been named?

There are libel laws to stop a blameless person being defamed. Naming the BBC presenter would be justifiable if allegations could be proved to be true on public interest grounds. But so far, neither the presenter nor the youngster has spoken publicly and only The Sun newspaper has claimed to have seen any evidence. There have also been creeping judge-made privacy laws in the UK. In 2018, Sir Cliff Richard won a legal case against the BBC after it filmed a police raid on his property and named the singer, when he was wholly innocent. Last year the UK’s highest court ruled that people under criminal investigation should have a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’.

But isn’t the presenter under criminal investigation?

No. Scotland Yard detectives have been consulted by BBC executives, but are at pains to stress there is no police investigation ‘at this time’. Media law experts suggested yesterday that, as regards to privacy laws, ‘news providers are self-censoring’.

What potential crime might police be examining?

The making, distributing, possessing or showing an indecent image of anyone under the age of 18 is a criminal offence under the Protection of Children Act 1978, as amended by the Sexual Offences Act 2003, even if the image was created with the consent of the young person, or the young person was asked to send a sexual image of themselves. The offence carries a maximum sentence of ten years. Nazir Afzal, the former chief prosecutor who led the case against the Rochdale grooming gangs, said causing or inciting sexual exploitation of a child carries a maximum sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment.

What is the BBC doing?

The BBC has legal obligations as the presenter’s employer in not identifying him, but is also responsible to licence fee payers to conduct a proper investigation into the claims. The young person’s mother claimed in The Sun that she alerted the corporation on May 19, but sources at the BBC said the accusations then were different to the more serious ones made last week.

The unnamed broadcaster was finally suspended by the BBC almost two months after a complaint was first made by the alleged victim’s family.

The mystery star is accused of paying tens of thousands of pounds to the alleged victim. The payments are said to have begun when the teenager was 17, which they then used to fund an addiction to crack cocaine.

On Monday Scotland Yard detectives held an online meeting with the corporation’s bosses instead of going to Broadcasting House in person.

The Metropolitan Police said it is undertaking further enquiries – but added there is currently no investigation while they ‘establish whether there is evidence of a criminal offence being committed’.

A spokesman said: ‘Detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command met with representatives from the BBC. The meeting took place virtually.

‘They are assessing the information discussed at the meeting and further enquiries are taking place to establish whether there is evidence of a criminal offence being committed. There is no investigation at this time’.

The corporation’s production staff – both on TV and radio – are leaving space in their schedules in case he names himself, it has been claimed. 

One senior BBC News journalist told MailOnline: ‘We are all really really worried about this mess. Obviously everyone knows who the presenter is’, but added: ‘The presenter in question is very in with the management. We are all so sick and tired that these people are protecting their friend at the expense of the integrity of the BBC.’

It came as the broadcaster at the heart of the scandal allegedly phoned the youngster after he was exposed last week. He reportedly demanded ‘what have you done?’ in the call and also asked his alleged victim to ring their mother to persuade her to ‘stop the investigation’.

‘The BBC say it can only come from him and has put him under massive pressure to speak. He is lawyered up to the max. A lot of BBC execs are blaming him for the chaos at the weekend because he was keeping his head down and refusing to be identified,’ another source said.

Another BBC star told MailOnline today how there are discussions of an ‘uprising’ among staff, both in front and behind the camera. The insider said many are fed up of being at the centre of a ‘farce’ where one of their colleagues is absent but none of the bosses can say who it is.   

A BBC News worker also said that all the bosses were in managing the scandal over the weekend – but journalists were ‘left in the dark’ about what was happening and left to ‘report on ourselves’. 

‘As ever, the bosses are keeping us all in the dark about their plans but we’re all very worried about where this ends up, and what we’ve been exposed to’, the source said.

‘We’ve had young runners, apprentices and vulnerable guests and contributors around this man – and now we don’t know who has been exposed to what, and who else is being protected.

Nicky Campbell notifies police: It’s been ‘distressing’ being falsely named as the BBC star at centre of scandal

Nicky Campbell has spoken about his ‘distressing weekend’ after he was ‘falsely named’ as the BBC presenter accused of paying a teenager for sexually explicit pictures.

The broadcaster, 62, was among the famous faces forced to clear their name after allegations that a BBC presenter paid £35,000 for explicit photographs.

Introducing his BBC Radio 5 Live show on Monday, Campbell said: ‘Obviously thoughts with the alleged victim and family.

‘So a bit of perspective here, worse things happen at sea as they say, but it was a distressing weekend, I can’t deny it, for me and others falsely named.

‘Today I am having further conversations with the police in terms of malicious communication and with lawyers in terms of defamation.’

It comes after he suggested he had contacted police about being falsely mentioned online in connection with the story.

He tweeted a screenshot which featured the Metropolitan Police logo and the words: ‘Thank you for contacting the Metropolitan Police Service to report your crime.’

‘I think it’s important to take a stand. There’s just too many of these people on social media. Thanks for your support friends,’ he wrote.

On his BBC radio show, a caller rang to say she was ‘so angry and cross’ that Campbell and others had to come forward and clear their names.

Campbell responded: ‘I’m all good, Jeremy (Vine) and also others involved as well, Rylan (Clark) and also Gary (Lineker), yeah it’s uncomfortable but as I said earlier worse things happen at sea.

‘We’re big boys.’

‘The presenter in question is very in with the management. They were all in this weekend, but very audibly moaning about missing out on time with their kids, watching the cricket, which made us all feel pretty awful as we’re the ones who have no idea what’s happening.

‘They all sat in a conference room getting lunch, dinner and ice creams delivered all day while the rest of us had to report on ourselves.’

There has been some disbelief that the ‘well-known’ star has remained on air given the claims were first put to the BBC in May. Since the story broke on Thursday night, one insider at the Beeb told The Sun: ‘The BBC has started to receive calls from the public about the behaviour of the person at the centre of the investigation.’

Household names including Gary Lineker, Jeremy Vine and Rylan Clark have felt compelled to publicly rule themselves out after social media users wrongly speculated they were the star in question. Others have been forced to tweet statements insisting they are on holiday – not suspended – as critics called on the BBC to name the man at the centre of the scandal.

One BBC presenter told The Times : ‘On the face of it, this looks horrendous — both for the individual and the institution.’ Another said: ‘Whatever the truth of it is, none of us trust managers to investigate properly. Colleagues are saying managers have been too slow in dealing with this despite it perhaps being a criminal matter.

He is now off air having been accused of handing over tens of thousands of pounds  across three years, which helped to fund the ‘spiralling’ crack-cocaine addiction of the youngster, now aged 20.

The individual’s mother has claimed she decided to approach the BBC after discovering the alleged payments and ‘begged’ bosses to make the star ‘stop sending cash’. She also told of how she saw a photo of the man stripped down to his boxer shorts for a video call ‘leaning forward, getting ready for my child to perform for him’.

The allegations, if proved, could constitute several criminal offences. The payments are said to have begun when the teenager was 17. This is over the age of sexual consent.  

But making, distributing, possessing or showing an indecent image of anyone under the age of 18 is a criminal offence under the Protection of Children Act 1978, even if the image was created with the consent of the young person, or the young person was asked to send a sexual image of themselves.

It carries a maximum sentence of ten years. Nazir Afzal, the former chief prosecutor who led the case against the Rochdale grooming gangs, said the allegations could also be considered an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Causing or inciting sexual exploitation of a child carries a maximum sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment.

Mr Afzal told The Sunday Times he was ‘surprised that this person was not suspended once they became aware of the gravity of the allegation’. ‘They should have advised the police that this is a matter that they should be investigating, and that should have been done weeks ago.’

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