The scale of Jimmy Savile's single-minded campaign of sexual abuse against children and other vulnerable people over six decades is staggering.
His involvement in voluntary work and fundraising for various health and educational establishments offered him not only a steady supply of victims but an aura of respectability, enabling him to indulge his warped fantasies.
Like many paedophiles and serial abusers, Savile could count on the disparity between his own status in society and that of his victims.
Many parents chose to disbelieve their own children who raised misgivings about aspects of her behaviour.
Officials in medical units that benefited to the tune of millions from Savile's charity work refused to treat complaints seriously or were persuaded not to process them because of the likely economic impact on their institutions of Savile no longer mobilising fund-raisers.
So confident was he of his omnipotence that he felt able to molest a teenage girl during the televising of Top of the Pops, which raises questions about attitudes of people in authority not just at the BBC but elsewhere.
Since the dam of inviolability was breached in the wake of Savile's death, many people have noted that there was a tolerant atmosphere for what were seen as his little weaknesses.
That "you know what Jimmy's like" nod-and-a-wink acceptance of a grown man's obsession with children's bodies helped him in his activities.
The combination of pop music, fundraising for good causes and a succession of early evening TV shows targeting families with young children helped create a persona of Savile as a one-off eccentric whose behaviour might seem bizarre but was no threat to the Establishment.
His ingratiation with members of the royal family and government enhanced his victims' understanding that he was powerful and they powerless.
Princes and prime ministers need not have known what he was up to and he may well have been on his best behaviour in his contacts with their children, but their patronage was essential to his ability to "hide in plain sight," as the police/NSPCC report puts it.
The plight of his victims was similar to that of the thousands of children and vulnerable adults abused by Catholic clergy in a number of countries.
Victims of the clergy were told they were wrong or even wicked for making allegations against individuals who had given their lives to God and the perpetrators were allowed to carry on as they were or transferred to different parishes to seek new prey.
The weak bottled up their concerns for decades, either in response to official indifference or in well-founded expectation of it.
However, the church has been forced to acknowledge the scale of the problem, even though it remains reluctant to refer rape charges to the appropriate authorities.
The Savile case does not have similar official structures of responsibility as the church, but it exposes a collective failure throughout society - a reluctance to believe abuse victims.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer apologises for the fact that Savile should have been prosecuted in 2009, two years before he died, but police failed to take victims seriously.
The genie is now out the bottle. The scale of the problem is palpable.
There can never again be justification for failure to investigate fully children's complaints about abuse, no matter how powerful or plausible the accused.