The well-known presenter allegedly gave the teen more than £35,000 for sordid images in a scandal that has rocked the national broadcaster.
The Sun exclusively revealed that the star was taken off air, and that the child’s mum saw images of him sitting on his sofa in his underpants.
Now Nazir Afzal, the former Chief Crown Prosecutor who led the prosecution in the Rochdale grooming gang cases, has told the Times the presenter could potentially be charged with sexual exploitation under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
He added: “The police should have been engaged as soon as they worked out whether the complaint was genuine.
“Where are we now — the middle of July? Six, seven weeks on.
“They should have advised the police that this is a matter that they should be investigating, and that should have been done weeks ago.
“There’s no justification for the police not having become involved as early as possible.”
Since this story was published the star has now been suspended by the BBC while they launch an urgent investigation.
Under the Protection of Children Act 1978, it is an offence to “make, distribute, possess or show any indecent images of anyone aged under 18”.
This counts even if the images were created with the young person’s consent.
It is also a criminal offence to ask a child under 18 to send a sexual image of themselves – and causing or inciting sexual exploitation of a child carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
Making or possessing indecent images carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
Speaking of the presenter, the mum yesterday recalled: “I loved watching him on TV.
“So I was shocked to see a picture of him sitting on a sofa in his house in his underwear.
“I immediately recognised him.
“He was leaning forward getting ready for my child to perform for him.
“My child told me, ‘I have shown things’ and this was a picture from some kind of video call.”
The presenter is understood to still be being paid his full six-figure salary after being suspended while claims are being investigated.
The allegations in yesterday’s Sun rocked the BBC.
Stars including Gary Lineker went online to deny it was them.
The story dominated BBC TV, radio and online news coverage.
And BBC journalists reported that the corporation faced questions over its handling of the crisis.
On Radio 4’s flagship Today programme, BBC culture and media editor Katie Razzall said: “It’s the front page of The Sun newspaper and the allegations are very serious.
“So clearly, there are questions swirling not just about the identity of the BBC individual, and of course, whether the claims are true, but also for the BBC in terms of what steps the corporation took after that complaint was made.”
Meanwhile, this morning Treasury minister Victoria Atkins labelled the situation “very very serious”.
She told Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “These are very, very serious allegations and the BBC have said that they have processes in place but I think as public attention and concern grows, the BBC is going to have to act very swiftly to deal with these allegations and to set out what they are doing to investigate them.”
In an interview with The Sun on Sunday, the mother said the family complained in May but became frustrated that the star was still on air a month later.
She said in June her child told her they had received a payment of £1,000 — allegedly transferred by PayPal.
The mum went on: “My child said they had run out of money and then suddenly had this cash.
“We never wanted an investigation.
“We just wanted the BBC to tell him to stop.
“Initially the security boss gave us a number that didn’t exist.”
She added of the presenter: “Earlier this year I heard him on the phone saying to my child, ‘I told you not to f***ing ring me’.
“It was shocking as I’d see how he would act on the telly and then he would say stuff like that.”
Earlier the mother heartbreakingly told how the teenager, now 20, used the man’s alleged funds to feed a “spiralling” drug addiction.
She said they had gone from a “happy-go-lucky youngster to a ghost-like crack addict” in three years.
Source: The SunCategories: News