October 27th, 2012
09:23 AM ET

Relatives of disgraced Savile voice their anguish

The family of disgraced UK TV presenter Jimmy Savile made its first public statement Saturday since a slew of claims of sexual abuse of under-age girls destroyed the reputation of a man they had regarded as a hero.

Savile's nephew, Roger Foster, had defended his late uncle - who hosted shows watched and heard by a generation of young Britons - in a newspaper interview before the allegations emerged in a TV documentary a month ago.

But as those few claims snowballed into hundreds, the family had to face up to the horrific truth: that the man they were so proud of as a media star and indefatigable charity fundraiser had a far darker side to his past.

A statement released Saturday by Foster spells out the family's anguish - and their deep sympathy for as many as 300 victims preyed on by Savile.

The documentary made them aware of "allegations of a darker side to him that we knew nothing about," Foster says - and the claims swiftly began to overwhelm the family.