Stuart Hall, a former host of British Broadcasting Corp. television programs, pleaded guilty to 14 sexual-assault offenses, involving victims as young as nine over a period spanning almost two decades.
Hall, who hosted British comedy game show “It’s a Knockout” in the 1970s, will be sentenced next month at Preston Crown Court in northern England, the U.K. Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement. The 83-year-old Hall was an “opportunistic predator,” prosecutor Nazir Afzal said.
“We prosecuted Stuart Hall because the evidence of the victims clearly established a pattern of behavior that was unlawful and for which no innocent explanation could be offered,” Afzal said in the statement. “Whether in public or private, Hall would first approach under friendly pretences and then bide his time until the victim was isolated.”
Officers are probing the abuse of hundreds of children over almost 50 years by people in the entertainment industry. The investigations began with accusations against the late BBC television star Jimmy Savile, whose alleged actions triggered a scandal at the world’s biggest broadcaster.
Prosecutors said they dropped a rape charge against Hall after securing guilty pleas on the other counts.
“The BBC is appalled by the disgraceful actions of Stuart Hall and we would like to express our sympathy to his victims,” the broadcaster said in a statement. “We will continue to work with the police to assist them in this and any other enquiries they are making.”
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