Some are being investigated by police while others have been reported to the corporation’s management.
But the BBC last night refused to say if any of the employees have been suspended.
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Probe: Nine serving BBC employees are under investigation for 'serious allegations' of sexual abuse following the sickening revelations about the late Jimmy Savile (file photo)
To add to the Corporation’s embarrassment, Newsnight editor Peter Rippon – who controversially shelved a film detailing Savile’s abuse – faced fresh criticism after an email emerged claiming that he played down the story because ‘it was 40 years ago’ and the girls were not ‘too young’.
And Culture Secretary Maria Miller made it clear she was unimpressed with Mr Entwistle’s often faltering performance in front of MPs – with aides saying it ‘resembled a car crash’.
BBC Director-General George Entwistle (right) and Head of BBC Editorial Policy David Jordan
In a hostile session of cross-examination, Mr Entwistle failed to satisfy those still calling for an independent inquiry as he was repeatedly hauled over the coals and even ridiculed for not finding out more about the Savile film when informed about it last December.
Sparked: Late TV presenter Jimmy Savile
The BBC later said it was ‘aware of nine allegations of sexual harassment, assault or inappropriate conduct regarding current staff or contributors’.
The fact that nine employees are being investigated is a sign that the ‘broader cultural problem’ of sexual harassment dating back to the Savile years of abuse still needs to be tackled.
Since the scandal erupted at the start of October, BBC stars – including Liz Kershaw and Sandi Toksvig – have alleged they were groped while live on air.
Asked by the MPs if there were active allegations against existing employees, Mr Entwistle said: ‘Information is being assembled on exactly that subject.
‘New allegations are being made and are coming in. What I am looking at is all the existing current allegations.’
The director-general did not dispute suggestions that child abuse had been ‘endemic’ at the corporation in the past, but insisted children were safe there now. ‘I believe we have good policies, but I am currently checking them to make sure they are as good as they need to be.’
David Jordan, head of editorial policy, said that if any allegations emerged which related to people still working for the BBC, the corporation would ensure they went to the police and that those involved were denied access to children.
Worried: Culture Secretary Maria Miller, left, wrote to BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten, right, saying ‘very real concerns are being raised about public trust and confidence in the BBC’.
‘This is something the BBC simply has to get right and I’m not sure we have got it right in every respect at the moment.’
Newsnight boss Mr Rippon ‘stepped aside’ from the role earlier this week after a blog he wrote was revealed to be inaccurate in key respects.
The latest email, revealed yesterday, suggests that Mr Rippon was trying to ‘kill’ the Savile story by making ‘impossible editorial demands’.
Channel 4 News said it had seen the email from Newsnight reporter Liz MacKean, the reporter who worked on the investigation. In it she accuses Mr Rippon of backtracking.
It reads: ‘Having commissioned the story, Peter Rippon keeps saying he’s lukewarm about it and is trying to kill it by making impossible editorial demands.’
Claims: Since the scandal erupted at the start of October, BBC stars – including Liz Kershaw and Sandi Toksvig – have alleged they were groped while live on air
Duties: Newsnight boss Mr Rippon 'stepped aside' from the role earlier this week after a blog he wrote was revealed to be inaccurate in key respects
Pete Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said: ‘Oh my God. He said that, and in the year 2011? Now we know why he has “stepped aside”. What an inane thing to say, and sadly reminiscent of the attitudes of too many people who don’t take these crimes seriously enough.’
The email follows another in which Mr Rippon, when referring to the evidence the programme, had used the phrase ‘just the women’.
Broadcast on Panorama it read: ‘The key is whether we can establish the CPS did drop the case for the reasons the women say. That makes it a better story – our sources so far are just the women and a second-hand briefing’.
Conservative MP Therese Coffey said the email was ‘chilling’ and questioned whether the culture had really changed at the BBC.
Mr Entwistle told her: ‘That phrase, on the face of it, isn’t in the least defensible, of course. I do believe the culture has changed since the Seventies and Eighties but I’m not convinced it has changed as much as it should have.’
Emails that suggested senior BBC executives tried to cover up the scandal were pulled from the Panorama programme for ‘legal reasons’ amid concerns that others implicated in the shelving of the report could sue for damages.
At least one of these emails suggests the Savile report was being discussed by a ‘long political chain’ of executives.