Cyril Smith's "extremely dominant" personality made his victims reluctant to come forward with allegations, according to a police report accusing the former Liberal MP of committing numerous indecent assaults on teenage boys.
The assaults allegedly took place in a residential hostel whose establishment Smith had been the "prime motivator" behind.
The redacted document says Smith enjoyed great prestige in his home town of Rochdale, where he was "dominant in council affairs" and had "favourable publicity" from the local newspaper.
It also says the 29-stone politician's "sheer physical bulk" was one of the factors that "overawed" his young victims.
More top news
Hundreds of people are feared to have drowned after a boat packed with migrants sank off the coast of Libya, trapping many in the hold.
Thousands are missing out on the best cancer treatments, research has found, with 50% unaware of more advanced types of radiotherapy.
Weather experts say most of the country should brace itself for showers, with thunderstorms and some heavy rain in parts.