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.