British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned that the widening child sex abuse scandal allegedly involving high-profile entertainers and politicians could metamorphose into a witch hunt against celebrities who happen to be homosexual.
Already, UK media has been swamped with stories and allegations that now-deceased entertainers Jimmy Saville and Wilfrid Brambell – as well as an unnamed senior Conservative politician (a close aide to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) who is still alive – sexually abused children decades ago.
While appearing on an ITV news program on Thursday morning, Cameron was presented with a list of "known pedophiles" by presenter Phillip Schofield, who found them circulating online.
Without looking at the list of names, Cameron said: "There is a danger, if we're not careful, that this could turn into a sort of witch hunt, particularly against people who are gay, and I'm worried about the sort of thing you are doing right now -- giving me a list of names that you've taken off the Internet."
But he added that any victims of sexual abuse should inform the police regardless of the culprit's fame and prominence.
"I've heard all sorts of names being banded around and what then tends to happen is, of course, everyone sits around and speculates about people. Some of whom are alive, some of whom are dead," Cameron told ITV.
An aide to Cameron told the BBC that innocent people who happen to be homosexual could be unfairly ensnared by allegations.
“[It is] important allegations are handled properly -- and people's reputations are not unnecessarily smeared," the source said.
A number of inquiries into child-sex allegations -- including an alleged pedophile ring that may have involved Tory politicians – are under way across Britain.
"It is very, very important that we do everything possible to get to the truth about these matters," Foreign Secretary William Hague told ITV News.
"It's really of huge importance ... If there’s anything more to look at, it must be looked at. Really, there must be no stone unturned in these matters.”
Hague was himself accused of squelching a similar investigation back in 1996.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.