and ALEC SCHWARTZ Edward Isadore Savitz sang "The Red and the Blue." And the man who, nearly 30 years ago, made the front page of The Daily Pennsylvanian for his role in student government has returned to capture headlines in papers across the country -- as "Uncle Ed." Savitz, a 1963 College graduate, was arrested last Wednesday for allegedly molesting several hundred young men in his Rittenhouse Square apartment. According to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, young boys, between 15 and 19 years old, willingly sold Savitz their soiled underwear, socks and bowel movements. He is being held in lieu of $20 million bail. Savitz, during his tenure at the University, was a member of the Glee Club, Men's Student Government, Pi Gamma Mu, a social sciences honors society, and Sigma Tau Sigma, a student mentoring program, according to the 1963 Record. According to a front page article in the DP, Savitz was elected to the MSG, one of the University's student assemblies, in December 1961. Savitz was a member of the Red and Blue party, one of several student political parties. In December 1962, Savitz, a senior, did not run for the MSG. But Philadelphia Mayor Edward Rendell, also a Red and Blue party member, was elected to the MSG, according to the DP. According to the Mayor's Press Secretary Kevin Feeley, Rendell does not "know [Savitz] or recollect him." Clearly, from an academic standpoint, Savitz was an outstanding student. According to the University documents from 1963 Commencement, Savitz graduated with honors. As a member of Pi Gamma Mu and Sigma Tau Sigma, Savitz would have had to attain an excellent grade point average. PGM requires academic achievements in one of five areas -- economics, history, political science, international relations or sociology/anthropology -- according to a national spokesperson. STS, also known as the Student Teaching Society, was founded to provide free tutoring to students in 1954. According to a February 1959 article in the DP, the "standards are high" and members were accepted based on several factors, including "previous academic distinction" and "instructing ability." Also, Savitz completed his undergraduate education in three years and was voted "most likely to succeed" and "best student" in his 1960 high school class. Dozens of University alumni from Savitz's class, including members of organizations he participated in, said this week that Savitz's name sounded familiar, but could not remember details of the man who is quickly becoming infamous. "I thought the name seemed familiar," said Richard Berlinger, a Glee Club member who graduated in 1964. "I couldn't figure out where I knew it from . . . was he in the Glee Club? . . . I have a fleeting image of him, but nothing more than that." Sources and documents indicate that Savitz has not been involved in University activities lately. According to a class of 1963 newsletter, Savitz did not sign up to attend his 20th class reunion in May 1983. Doris Cochran-Fikes, director of alumni relations, said that according to alumni relations records, Savitz has not been active in University functions. And the University Development Office has no knowledge of any involvement with the University. Pamela Milcos, a member of the Alumni Secondary School Committee for Philadelphia County said Savitz was not on her list of active area alumni who interview prospective undergraduates. Since his graduation, Savitz has gone on to become a successful Philadelphia businessman. Savitz is vice president of the Savitz Organization, a firm started 20 years ago by his brother Samuel. His reputation as a savvy actuary was enough for Money magazine to quote him about the conversion of corporate retirement plan proceeds into annuities. The Savitz Organization was sold in the 1980s to the accounting firm Laventhol & Horvath, and when that company went bankrupt, Sam Savitz was able to spin off his business. It now generates an estimated $2 million to $3 million in revenue annually, according to an employee at a larger actuarial firm, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The company has five members including the Savitz brothers. Last week, Philadelphia Police arrested Savitz for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual abuse of children, indecent assault and corrupting the morals of a minor. Savitz has denied allegations that he had anal and oral sex with children. Most shocking, however, is the disclosure that Savitz has had full-blown AIDS for at least one year, according to District Attorney Lynne Abraham. According to a statement by Abraham, Savitz was HIV-positive for at least one-to-two years prior to the onset of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. City Health Commissioner Robert Ross, who was originally fearful of an epidemic, said Monday that he is relieved because many of Savitz's partners told AIDS hotlines that "Uncle Ed" required them to use condoms. "We're relieved in terms of the potential for a public health threat," Ross said. "It doesn't appear to be as bad as we feared." When Savitz was arrested, police said they found 5,000 photographs of young boys in his 23rd floor apartment on the 2000 block of Walnut Street. They also found bags of dirty socks and underwear in a storage facility he rented. Savitz had been previously arrested on similar charges in 1988, but the charges were dropped for unknown reasons. Staff Writer Stephanie Desmon and the Associated Press contributed to this story.Comments powered by Disqus
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