Student Health has not received calls in response to allegations that a Philadelphia businessman with AIDS had molested children -- even though callers have flooded AIDS hotlines across Philadelphia, a student health official said yesterday. Edward Savitz, a 1963 University graduate who has full-blown AIDS, is being held on $20 million bail for allegedly buying sex, soiled underwear and photos from young males. Kate Webster, a sexual health educator in the University's office of Student Health, said her office is open as usual to accept calls from concerned students. "I would certainly be more than willing to help someone deal with the really frightening issues connected with the front-page blitz of information," Webster said. "I don't want this particular case to make people forget the possible exposures that people come in contact with everyday." Webster said she is able to refer people who are concerned they have Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome to appropriate testing sites in the city. She said most people she speaks with opt for free, anonymous testing -- a service the University does not provide. "The man has some obvious problems that are separate from the fact that he is HIV-infected," the nurse-practitioner said. "Anyone with AIDS, whether it's Ed or Annette on campus, is the same. "Something like this hightens awareness, but also hightens irrational fears," Webster added. Savitz, who graduated from the College, has been charged by the District Attorney's office on 17 counts -- five each of sexual abuse of children and corrupting the morals of minors, three of indecent assault, and two each of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and promoting prostitution. The Philadelphia actuary graduated with honors and was involved in many campus organizations, including Men's Student Government and the Glee Club. According to Glee Club Director Bruce Montgomery, Savitz was a pianist for the club for just one year. "I really didn't know him other than as an accompianist," Mongomery said. "He was sort of a loner." Montgomery said he remembered Savitz being especially proud to accompany the club when Rise Stevens, from the Metropolitan Opera Company, sang at the group's centennial celebration. Montgomery said he thought Savitz was his former accompianist when he first heard the name, but wasn't completely sure until photographs hit newspapers. "The cleft in the chin pretty much settled it," Montgomery said of the photos. Another acquaintance of Savitz, who asked not to be identified, said Savitz was a bright student at every level of his education and observed Savitz from his days at Sayer Junior High School and West Philadelphia High School. "He was absolutely brilliant, quiet, popular -- reasonably popular, anyway -- and ethical," he said. "I guess he would fall into the broad category of nerd, but primarily brilliant. And in those days, brilliant people were ethical people." According to documents recovered from the Philadelphia City Archives, Savitz applied for a Mayor's Scholarship in 1960, but was not selected. Records indicate that Savitz was not asked back for an interview. The acquaintance said Savitz' entire family -- parents and three brothers -- were "high-quality" people. "As I recall [Savitz], he was very much interested in doing the right thing," the aquaintance said. "This guy was the last person you would have expected anything like this from." Staff Writer Stephen Glass and the Associated Press contributed to this story.Comments powered by Disqus
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