BBC pauses investigation into sex photo allegations after meeting police


LONDON (Reuters) – The BBC said on Tuesday it had paused its investigation into a presenter accused of paying a young person for explicit images, saying its review was on hold while the police examined the circumstances.

Britain’s leading broadcaster has been rocked in recent days by a report in the Sun newspaper that one of its leading presenters had paid a young person 35,000 pounds ($44,828) for explicit photos over three years, beginning when they were 17.

The BBC, which dominates Britain’s cultural and news landscape, has suspended the presenter and discussed the situation with the police.

The presenter has not been named. Several BBC stars have taken to social media to say they were not involved after speculation swirled online.

“The BBC has been asked to pause its investigations into the allegations while the police scope future work,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

The police said on Monday that detectives from its specialist crime command had met with representatives from the corporation and were assessing the information.

“There is no investigation at this time,” they added.

The BBC is funded by a licence fee paid by every British TV-watching household. It is now trying to investigate the claim about the presenter and protect their privacy, while also being transparent and not putting all of their leading presenters under suspicion.

It said on Tuesday it had received the complaint about the presenter in May, but its investigations team had subsequently struggled to get in touch with the complainant. The complaint came from a member of the young person’s family.

On Monday the BBC reported that it had received a letter from a lawyer acting for the young person in the case, to say the allegations were “rubbish”.

“The events of recent days have shown how complex and challenging these kinds of cases can be and how vital it is that they are handled with the utmost diligence and care,” the BBC said on Tuesday in its statement.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; writing by Kate Holton; editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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