Two news stories that have been dragging on that to me share some bleak and disturbing similarities.

First up Jimmy Saville. Now bereft of headstone, reputation and venues named after him, despite as yet being convicted of nothing. It is alleged he carried out decades worth of abuse of children and vulnerable adults in places such as the BBC, Great Ormand Street, Leeds hospital (where he was a volunteer porter), and numerous other places.

Now a multitude of voices crawl out of the wordwork to pour fuel on the flames as they stoke up the witchburning. Now the man is dead, now the abused children are damaged, now the accusers have nothing to fear, now the horse has well and truly bolted, they speak out.

That Saville was a weirdo and probably a molester is no surprise I think. What shocks is the sheer number of people that must have known, must have covered the facts, in effect must have facilitated his abuse.

If you knew what was going on, truly knew, and did nothing, you are an accomplice. You left children and sick young adults unable to defend for themselves to the clutches of an abuser. You put your job or career before them. You should be named and shamed.

Second story is that of Lance Armstrong. Wonder boy and darling of the new super-sport cycling now exposed as drugs cheat and bully. He is alleged to have systematically doped and encouraged others to do so. He is alleged to have threatened other riders to capitulate to his demands, threatened reporters who wrote articles he disagreed with or that threatened to tarnish his teflon reputation as the hero who defeated cancer. Again people knew, and did nothing.

But the thing that really joins the two events, the thing that makes my blood boil, is the defence I have seen on more than one occasion.

“But think of the charitable work they did”

They got away with their crimes in part because they raised cash for good works. They were shielded and tolerated because they helped fund hospitals, or research. They used photogenic kids in dire medical need as a cover for their activities. In effect, allow me to carry on or little timmy suffers. People rationalised the harm they did as it allowed them to keep their job, or carry on their research. They put their own goals first and profited from the crimes.

The fact they raised a few million that was put to good use does not absolve them from their crimes. Or do we just put a price on abuse? Million quid per small child? or 2 years of drugs cheating?

They perverted what should have been good and noble activities to be little more than covers, and if you use that answer in any way as an excuse for allowing them to continue you were an accomplice too.

I believe that “but think of the charity they bring in” will now be termed the Armstrong-Saville defence…

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