Read this, then keep in mind that the sort of people who swept these crimes under the table are still in power, in both Britain and the USA:
How the great and the good let Jeremy Thorpe get away with sex abuse... and gave a green light to monsters like Cyril Smith and Jimmy SavileKeep in mind it wasn't merely the rape and sexual abuse, but attempted murder, that was covered up, covered up so successfully that child molesters - and perhaps even murderers - were able to operate with impunity for decades afterward.
There was no doubt that what they had heard was evidence of a criminal offence. But the culprit named by Scott was a prominent public figure — no less than the flamboyant and hugely popular Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe, an increasingly impressive figure on the political stage and, then aged 33, clearly destined for greater things.
Should they delve deeper and risk infuriating a man whose friends in high places meant he wielded considerable influence? Or should they wash their hands of the whole business?
Predictably enough — as author John Preston writes in his book A Very English Scandal, a new and scintillating account of the Thorpe affair — ‘self-preservation won the day’.
They made a few cursory inquiries among police in Thorpe’s North Devon constituency, then sent their file to Scotland Yard. From there it was passed on to Special Branch and copied to MI5, which kept files on all MPs.
Despite Thorpe’s homosexuality making him liable to blackmail and therefore a possible security risk, Special Branch also chose to take the path of least resistance. The file was locked in a safe in the office of an assistant commissioner. The cover-up of the bizarre and criminal antics of Thorpe had begun.