The BBC was on Monday facing questions after a high-profile presenter was accused by a newspaper of paying a teenager tens of thousands of pounds for “sexually explicit” photos.
The allegations follow sex scandals that have rocked the broadcaster in recent years involving some of its biggest names including Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris.
The claims have also prompted several household names employed by the BBC to publicly rule themselves out as the accused man.
The BBC on Sunday said it had suspended the unnamed male presenter and contacted London’s Metropolitan Police.
“The Met has received initial contact from the BBC in relation to this matter,” the force said in a statement.
The allegations emerged in an article published Friday in The Sun daily in which the alleged victim’s family said the presenter had paid a total of £35,000 ($45,000) for the pictures.
The “sleazy messages” allegedly began three years ago when the teenager was aged 17.
The teenager’s mother blamed the man for “destroying my child’s life” and said that they had used the money to fund a crack cocaine addiction.
The family of the teenager reportedly complained to the BBC on May 19, asking the corporation to stop the man “sending the cash”, but were upset to see that he subsequently remained on air.
Justice Secretary Alex Chalk questioned the BBC’s decision not to suspend the presenter as soon as the allegations were first made.
“Once allegations of this seriousness and concern are raised and the BBC are aware of them, yes, I would expect them to move to suspension”, he told BBC radio on Monday.
The BBC said that they became aware of “new allegations” last Thursday.
“New allegations were put to us on Thursday of a different nature and in addition to our own inquiries we have also been in touch with external authorities, in line with our protocols,” it said.
The claims are an unwelcome reminder of the sexual assault scandals that have engulfed the publicly-funded BBC since Savile’s death in 2011.
Savile, one of the biggest stars on children’s television for decades, died in 2011 and was later uncovered as a prolific abuser.
Australian-born Harris also presented a raft of prime-time BBC shows in the course of a long career.
He died in disgrace in May at the age of 93, after serving a jail sentence for underage-sex crimes.
SOURCE: Insider Paper