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`UNCLE ED' WAS WELL-KNOWN ON STREETS

The alleged fetishes and sexual desires of "Uncle Ed" were common knowledge on the street long before police accused the AIDS-infected man of paying for sex with boys and young men, AIDS counselors say.

Edward Savitz was also known as "Fast Eddie," or "Dr. Feel Good," according to counselors who canvassed neighborhoods after his arrest.Police believe the 50-year-old businessmen paid hundreds of boys and young men for sex, underwear and feces over the past decade. District Attorney Lynne Abraham said he used a pay scale for sex acts and paid for referrals.

Police found 5,000 photographs of boys in his downtown apartment. More than 500 calls flooded local AIDS hot lines after his mug shot was released Friday.

Savitz was held on $20 million bail Sunday. Prosecutors said he is suicidal.

His lawyer said he was beaten and robbed in jail after his name became public. Savitz is cooperating with police and expected confidentiality, said defense attorney Barnaby Wittels.

Savitz denies having anal or oral sex with anyone, Wittels said.

Roger Armstrong, assistant executive director of the Philadelphia AIDS Task Force, said he talked with street hustlers Saturday night near Savitz's apartment. Other workers spoke with children on playgrounds and found that even they had heard of him.

"This man was throughout the city," said Francis L. Stoffa Jr., the task force's executive director.

The hustlers said Savitz paid between $50 and $100 for sex, Armstrong said. One youth said Savitz paid him $50 for his dirty socks.

Most said all they did was sell Savitz their clothing, Stoffa said. A "crude guess" would be that 30 percent had sex with him, he said.

Sue Carver, supervisor of the CHOICE telephone hot line, said it was flooded with calls.

As of Sunday, Savitz faced 17 counts. The charges involve 10 boys. More charges are expected. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.