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Wife names BBC News anchor as target of payments scandal

The spouse of a well-known news anchor for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has identified him as the subject of a massive scandal that involve alleged payments made to a young ma in exchange for risqué images.

This week, the wife of BBC News anchor Huw Edwards confirmed he was suspended from the broadcaster as it probes allegations of sexual misconduct and violations of workplace policy.

The suspension followed a report by The Sun newspaper that claimed an unnamed BBC presenter had paid a drug addict around £35,000 (about $45,000) in exchange for sexually-explicit images. Edwards reportedly first initiated contact several years ago when the man was 17 years old, the newspaper alleged, though it did not say the two exchanged intimate photos when the man was a minor.

Edwards’ wife, Vicky Flind, said the incident has caused her husband to suffer from “serious mental health issues” that required hospitalization, and that he is now receiving inpatient care at a hospital, “where he will stay for the foreseeable future.”

Last week, The Sun reported that a BBC presenter had been suspended after it learned about the payments to the teenager. The report did not say that a crime had been committed; while the age of consent in the United Kingdom is 16, it is unlawful for anyone to possess sexual images related to a person under the age of 18.

Other news outlets, including the BBC, repeated The Sun’s original story with a suggestion that a crime may have taken place. The Metropolitan Police opened an investigation into the matter, but ultimately determined there was no evidence of a crime. The Sun says it will no longer publish stories on the subject.

On Wednesday, the BBC program “Newsnight” said the broadcaster was investigating other claims of sexual misconduct involving Edwards, including complaints levied by two junior-level employees. The network’s investigation apparently started well before The Sun published its articles.

Edwards started at the BBC in the mid-1980s, first as a news intern, then as a correspondent for BBC Wales. He presented the network’s evening newscast, “BBC Six O’Clock News,” for nearly a decade before being promoted to the head newsreader of the flagship program “Ten O’Clock News,” a position he has held since 2003.

Edwards also covers international news events for the BBC, and has made appearances on other national and global BBC News programs, including “BBC News at One,” “BBC Weekend News” and “Daily Politics.” In that respect, he has earned the designation as one of the most-recognizable faces of the BBC’s television news operation.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).