BBC presenter paid for exploited teen’s drug habit

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A nude picture scandal engulfing British broadcaster the BBC and one of its high profile presenters has grown after another young person claimed they were contacted online by the star and “felt threatened” when they refused to meet up.

The new allegations come following earlier claims a teenager received thousands of pounds to send the star sexual images.

But in that first case, the now 20-year-old has said the claims – made by the person’s family – were “rubbish”.

On Friday, The Sun newspaper published allegations from the family that the presenter had paid around £35,000 ($A68,000) for sexual photos and video calls when the person was 17.

In the UK, the age of consent is 16 years old.

However, in England and Wales any distribution of sexual images of someone under the age of 18 is illegal.

The money, the family said, was then used to fund a drug habit.

“Without the money, my partner’s child would have no drugs,” the person’s stepfather told The Sun.

The BBC has said it is taking very seriously allegations that one of its presenters paid a teenager for sexual images.
The BBC has said it is taking very seriously allegations that one of its presenters paid a teenager for sexual images.
ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Young person says claims are ‘rubbish’

The family approached the BBC in May with the allegations.

But they claimed the presenter remained on air until The Sun approached the broadcaster with the allegations last week.

On Sunday, the BBC suspended the household name and began an investigation.

No one has been charged and there is currently no criminal investigation but London’s Metropolitan Police is seeing if there are grounds for one.

The star has not identified themselves and has issued no statement on the matter.

The UK has strict privacy and defamation laws, which has made the media increasingly wary of revealing a person’s identity before they are formally under investigation or arrest.

On Monday, UK time, the BBC said it had received a letter from the person’s lawyers saying “nothing inappropriate or unlawful has taken place”.

“The allegations reported in The Sun newspaper are rubbish,” the letter said.

However, the family has stood by its claims.

The legal letter claimed the person was not contacted by The Sun prior to the story’s publication.

In a statement, The Sun said it had seen evidence to back up the claims from “two very concerned parents”.

“It’s now for the BBC to properly investigate.”

On Tuesday, BBC News reported that a second young person had come forward accusing the same presenter of sending “abusive and menacing” messages.

British detectives met with representatives of the BBC on Monday regarding the allegations.
British detectives met with representatives of the BBC on Monday regarding the allegations.

The person, in their early twenties, has no connection to the first person.

They said the presenter had messaged them on a dating app and asked them to meet up but they never did.

They recognised the presenter and, the BBC reported, “hinted they might name” them which led to a number of “abusive expletive filled messages”.

“The young person said they had been scared by the power the presenter held,” BBC News reported.

“They said the threats made in the messages … had frightened them, and they remain scared.” The BBC reported they “felt threatened”.

The broadcaster has said it has seen the messages and confirmed they came from a phone which belonged to the star.

The presenter has not commented.

Questions remain over what — if any — relationship there was between the presenter and the teen who the family claims was in communication with the star.

And whether the BBC properly investigated the allegations when the family approached the broadcaster in May.

The Metropolitan Police has now told the BBC to pause its internal investigation while its attempts to establish if a crime has been committed.

Another police force has confirmed it was contacted in April but “no criminality was identified”. It is now working with the Metropolitan Police.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday, the BBC director general Tim Davie said the scandal was “clearly damaging” to the broadcaster.

He defended the BBC’s handling of the issue and said the allegations were immediately taken seriously but conceded there was a question as to whether it raised “red flags quick enough”.

Meanwhile, there are calls for the presenter to voluntarily name themselves.

Conservative MP Damian Collins, who used to sit on a government committee that examined the BBC, said the star’s anonymity might not be “sustainable” if they were off air for a protracted period and that absence was noticed by viewers.

With AFP

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