Catholic Church bid to strip Savile's papal honor

Associated Press
FILE - This is a March 25, 2008 file photo of Sir Jimmy Savile, who for decades was a fixture on British television. A year after he died, aged 84 and honored as Sir Jimmy, several women have come forward to claim he was also a sexual predator and serial abuser of underage girls. The child abuse scandal that has enveloped the BBC, one of Britain's most respected news organizations, is now hitting one of America's, as the incoming president of The New York Times is on the defensive about his final days as head of the BBC. Mark Thompson was in charge of the BBC in late 2011 when the broadcaster shelved what would have been a bombshell investigation alleging that the late Savile was a serial sex offender. (AP Photo/ Lewis Whyld/PA, File)
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FILE - This is a March 25, 2008 file photo of Sir Jimmy Savile, who for decades was a fixture on British …

LONDON (AP) — The Catholic Church of England said Saturday it has contacted the Holy See to ask if the papal knighthood awarded to late television star Jimmy Savile could be posthumously removed following sexual abuse allegations.

The head of the church, the Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichol, wrote to Vatican officials last week with the request in recognition of the "deep distress" of the victims allegedly abused by Savile, a well-known BBC children's television host who died last year at age 84.

Police believe Savile to be one of the most prolific sex offenders in recent history, with a "staggering number" of people reporting abuses by him after his death.

Some 300 potential victims have come forward with abuse allegations, police said. Most of them say they were abused by Savile, but some say they were abused by other people, Metropolitan Police said Friday.

Savile was made a Knight Commander of St Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II in 1990 for his charity work.

He was also knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to charity and entertainment.

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