The Double Life Of Eddie Savitz

Posted: April 03, 1992

When Richard M. Segal heard on the radio that a man named Edward I. Savitz was accused of molesting teen-age boys, he knew he had to call the Ed Savitz he knew and kid him about it.

"I thought it had to be somebody with the same name," Segal said. "I thought, 'I have to call Ed and pull his chain.' "

But as more details of the case unfolded, Segal, a lawyer who had business dealings with Savitz, came to the horrible realization that this was the Ed Savitz he knew.

"I was completely floored," said Segal, who heads the pension department of the law firm of Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish & Kauffman.

Segal's was a common reaction among people who knew Savitz as an actuary and vice president of the Savitz Organization, a highly regarded Philadelphia insurance firm of which his brother, Samuel, is president.

But the 50-year-old Savitz lived a double life, authorities say.

The man whom Segal and other business associates knew as a quietly efficient insurance actuary, also lived the sordid life of a sexual deviate and fetishist who paid teen-age and younger boys for their dirty underwear, used socks and feces, as well as other sexual favors, police say, and is now dying of AIDS.

A 20-year-old, who lived with Savitz for about three months in 1988, said in an interview last night with the Daily News that Savitz was a "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."

Authorities say that while Savitz had been indulging his weird fantasies for as long as 20 years, using boys whose older brothers had dealt with him, he managed to balance his two seemingly irreconcilable existences.

Indulged fetishes

behind locked door At the office, he worked on the demanding details of the actuary business, gathering and interpreting statistics that help companies plan employee retirement and health insurance.

But at lunch time, in the evenings, in the middle of the night, on weekends, according to police and interviews with some of his young clients, Savitz indulged his fetishes behind the door with 10 locks that guarded the fetid precincts of his luxury apartment in the exclusive Wanamaker House on Rittenhouse Square.

The boys who went there told of the stench of human feces and soiled underwear, which Savitz allegedly collected in wholesale lots. The smell invaded the hallway beyond the door and was beginning to alarm other tenants.

The tenants and the apartment house management also were increasingly alarmed by the growing crowd of kids who flocked into the building to visit the man they called "Fast Eddie."

The management imposed a special rule on Savitz. Instead of letting the youngsters traipse up to his 23rd floor apartment by themselves, he had to go down to the lobby and escort them up.

Frequently, his secret life leaked into his professional existence. He gave his young clients both his work and home phone numbers, and many of the thousands of calls he got went to the office.

After police began investigating Savitz, a tap placed on one of his phone lines by investigators registered more than 3,000 calls in one 30-day period. He also got calls on what he called his "hotline," which could be switched to either his office or home, according to interviews with his young clients.

The 20-year-old man who said he lived with Savitz and had sold him sexual favors for about eight years, last night gave extensive details of life with Fast Eddie.

He summed up his experiences this way: "Ed was no big deal as far as we were concerned. He was a fag, and a nice guy, and he paid."

Savitz, who police said formerly carried out his sexual activities at a magestic brownstone at 22nd Street and St. James Place, went before Common Pleas Judge Howland W. Abramson yesterday seeking a reduction in the $20 million bail that has kept him behind bars since his arrest last week.

Abramson said he would rule by Tuesday.

Savitz's arrest, announced last Friday, has terrorized a large segment of the city population, fearful that he may have infected hundreds of boys with the always-fatal AIDS virus.

"He has enormous desires that cannot be controlled," said Assistant District Attorney Charles Ehrlich, who asked the judge to keep Savitz at the city Detention Center's hospital unit pending trial.

BROTHER WAS THE ENGINE THAT DROVE THE COMPANY

Richard Segal, the lawyer who knew Savitz professionally, said he had the ''highest regard for Ed Savitz and his brother, Sam."

Of Savitz's alleged hidden life, Segal said, "I had no idea, and I consider myself to be an astute judge of character.

"Ed was a quiet person. But I didn't find that to be unusual among actuaries. An actuary is not the same kind of person as . . . an insurance salesman. I am not put off by an actuary who is reserved and quiet."

"I think that Sam is more of an outgoing person. As I see it, the Savitz Organization orginated with Sam. He is not only a bright, knowledgable person, but also the salesman. He is the engine that drives the Savitz organization.

"Ed was was the technican that did the nuts and bolts. When I would ask a technical question (Sam) would refer me to Ed."

Those who knew him in his profesional role did not seem to find anything odd about the fact that Savitz often showed up with one or two teen-age boys in tow. They accepted his explanation that the boys were troubled youths whom he was helping.

Harriet Lessy, a Daily News business columnist, said she knew Savitz when about 16 years ago she was a member of the Center City Residents Association. She said Savitz also was involved in the organization.

"He was always very, very helpful, in terms of time," Lessy said. "He was really very lovely. A really nice man. Even though he wore a somewhat unattractive toupee.

"He was often with a young man. I know that in that period, I had met one guy who was around more than others, a little bit of a young, tough guy.

"He would always introduce them. He didn't seem like he was hiding what he was doing.

"I never saw him with more than one person at a time. I had met many young men with him. They were all very polite. None looked like they were there by force.

"Often times we would have to set up chairs for outdoor concerts and they (the young men) were very helpful. They would help with the chairs. If a light bulb was out they would go tell a guard or run across the street to get a new one."

ACTING OUT OBSESSION WITH NO CONTROL OF IT

Psychiatrists interviewed by the Daily News said Savitz was acting out an obsession and had no control over it.

"He seems to be on a self-destruct mission," said Dr. Kenneth Kool, a forensic psychiatrist. "Clearly, this guy was super-sick. Out of control. He seeks the ultimate in humiliation and masochism."

Dr. James Pedigo, chief psychiatrist at the James J. Peters Institute, which counsels sex offenders and their victims, perversions like Savitz' are rooted in infancy, when the subject likely was sexually brutalized "in a significant and ongoing way," starting at about age 18 months.

Though Savitz seems to share many characteristics with typical pedophiles, some of his practices - eating feces, for example - are extreme, the doctors said.

His ability to function efficiently in the business world indicates he was able to compartmentalize his world, keeping home and work separate.

REMEDIES AND STIMULANTS DOTTED THE APARTMENT

The 20-year-old man who said he lived with Savitz for three months met with a reporter on a Grays Ferry street, talking convincingly of life with Fast Eddie as he and the reporter huddled against a bitter wind.

The man said Savitz kept stomach medicine and Vaseline lying about everywhere in his apartment.

He often suffered intestinal aches and gulped Pepto Bismol, Maalox, and similar stomach remedies, the youth said.

Also strewn about were stimulants, usually caffeine pills like No-Doz. He said Savitz was a caffeine addict, though he never drank coffee.

Also, he never smoked cigarettes or marijuana, though he allowed his boys to do both, the man said. He eschewed all hard drugs. He kept plum sake on hand for visitors, but never indulged himself, the man said.

He said Savitz slept on a blanket roll on the floor in his room, the bedroom where the boys would be taken for whatever sex act they would supply. There was no bed in the apartment, the youth said.

The man said there were condoms in the apartment, but that Savitz used them only to capture the sperm of his clients.

The living room boasted a grand piano, a bumper pool table piled high with Savitz's work papers, a light-brown leather couch, a plush plaid sofa in a corner, a matching plaid chair, a long telescope with which he gazed at the stars.

He also had binoculars, which some of the kids liked to use to spy on neighbors.

A maid cleaned the apartment twice a week, the youth said, except for Savitz's room and the bathroom, which Savitz only allowed to be cleaned "once in a blue moon."

The youth said Savitz never slept a full night. He'd sleep a few hours, then awaken. By ritual, he said, he'd always masturbate upon waking. Then he'd welcome a young boy into his room, close the door and while away some time with him.

Finally, he'd excuse his guest and sleep another few hours. Sometimes, he'd have one of his boys take him grocery shopping about 4 a.m. at the Pathmark on Monument Avenue. It was his favorite time to shop because the store was uncrowded.

"He was a napper," the youth said. He said Savitz would nap, wake up, indulge in a sex act, then go back to sleep for about three hours, wake up and repeat the process.

He'd awaken about 8 a.m., shower, shave, dress immaculately in a three- piece suit and head off to work by 9 a.m., the youth said.

He said Savitz would return home for lunch - a frozen TV dinner. Typically, he'd bring with him a boy or two. He'd eat with them in the living room, then retire to his bedroom with one of them.

Then he'd invite the other boy in. Afterward, he'd spend some time by

himself, and around 3 p.m., he'd go back to work.

He'd come home from work about 5:30, usually with a couple more young boys, the man said. Then his evening schedule would begin. He'd have boys come up about every half hour, usually in pairs, the youth said.

He never rushed those already in the apartment to finish defecating or whatever they were doing for money. Some simply hung around watching porno video tapes.

On a typical day, the youth said, Savitz would have 15 to 20 boys up to the apartment.

After a sex session involving feces, the youth said, Savitz would swab

himself fastidiously with rubbing alcohol and blast his teeth with a Water Pic. He never reeked of excrement.

HE HAD A PRICELIST

The man said Savitz paid youngsters for every chore. A run to the dry cleaners was worth $20. A stop at the local store, $20. Painting the apartment, $400. Driving Savitz to the Pathmark, $20.

He even paid a boy $20 to turn the pages of his sheet music while he played the piano for USO shows at the Veterans Hospital in University City. He paid kids $5 to watch porno movies and tell him if they were any good, the man said.

Savitz was finicky about the boys he invited to his lair, the man said. He wanted no fat boys, no blacks, no gays, no thieves, nobody with beer breath, nobody too stoned, nobody too dirty.

He even had a dress code: No tank tops in the summer.

"He was a nice guy," the young man said. "Fast Ed took me in during a bad time at home. He just did it because he was a nice guy. It wasn't for sex,

because everything with the underwear sniffing and all stopped after I moved in."

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