The author of an independent inquiry into the "culture and practices" at the BBC during the time Jimmy Savile is believed to have abused children has expressed her disappointment at a website which leaked it. Dame Janet Smith said she was "disappointed" by the decision of investigation website Exaro for publishing a version of her review which has taken three years to complete.
Smith, a former judge who led the inquiry into mass murderer Dr Harold Shipman, claims the version which appears on Exaro is out of date and "significant changes" have been made to its contents and conclusions.
Among the claims made by the Exaro website on the basis of the leaked report include Smith criticising the BBC for its "untouchable stars" and "above the law managers". The report also suggests around 18% of BBC staff were aware Savile may have been sexually attracted to girls under the age of 13 and around 30% thought he was attracted to underage girls between the age of 13-15.
The report allegedly suggests most BBC staff were not shocked by Savile's sexual attraction to underage girls but "many seem to have regarded them as amusing". And it allegedly concludes that Smith thinks similar abuse could still happen at the BBC today.
The leaked report suggests at least 61 sexual assaults took place on "virtually every one of the BBC premises at which he worked". Savile was also said to have abused young girls while presenting Top of the Pops in "plain sight" – including at least one occasion on camera – as it was "nobody's responsibility to look after the welfare" of the girls in the audience.
The report also criticises the culture at the time of the BBC as the corporation made it "difficult for such young women to complain about anything and about sexual misconduct or harassment in particular".
Elsewhere, Smith concludes her report by saying: "Finally, I wish to consider whether it is possible that a predatory child abuser could be lurking undiscovered in the BBC even today. The answer is that I think it is possible."
However, the report is said to accept claims of senior figures that they were not aware of Savile's offending.
Following the leak, Smith, who finished the report last year, said: "The review is disappointed by the decision of Exaro to publish, in breach of confidence, extracts from a leaked copy of an early draft of its report. That document is out of date and significant changes have been made to its contents and conclusions. The document should not have been made public and cannot be relied upon in any circumstances. The review will work with the BBC to arrange publication of its final report as quickly as possible to ensure that accurate and responsible reporting can take place."
Exaro leaked the report, which runs at more than 500 pages, on 20 January, the same day the review announced it will be ready to publish its finding within six weeks. Metropolitan Police asked the inquiry to hold off publishing its report until the force could be sure the findings would not prejudice any of its current investigations.
A BBC spokesperson added: "We cannot confirm the authenticity or contents of the leaked report and we don't believe Exaro has the full version."