What Haunts Us (2018) Script

Hi, this is Paige.

Please leave a message.

Hey Paige, it's Mackie.

I just heard about another suicide.

Another boy that went to Porter-Gaud when we were in school.

So, anyway, um, it's just one after the next.

Call me when you have a chance.

Thanks, take care. Bye.

Every time my phone rings and it's Charleston, I'm afraid to pick it up.

My hometown is haunting me.

With each death, I'm 16 again, back in high school, trying to figure it all out.

We were really innocent.

We were really innocent.

I have really good memories.

I always liked school, but more, it was our friends.

I started Porter-Gaud in the fourth grade and then I finished, graduated, 1983.

I rode to school every day with five of the guys in my class.

That group of guys was very tight.

I really felt like I knew them inside out.

I started the first-ever surf club at Porter-Gaud and it became the most popular club in the school.

During the yearbook photo, there were about 60 people and only about a third of them ever had surfed.

It's like, when I think of Porter-Gaud, I see bright colors, you know?

Just happiness.

And then, I see like this shroud over all the color.

And I still see that.

I just want it to be resolved.

It was resolved.

20 years ago.

But it won't go away.

You look back, you think, "Gosh, there has been, statistically more deaths in the class of '79 than just about any other class."

In the senior class, there were one, two, three, four, five, there are six suicides out of 49 boys.

I mean, it's like a 10th of the class.

That should be headlines today, how many students at that school that have committed suicide in the last 40 years.

I started flipping through all the other years, I'm like, "Well I know of someone

"in the junior class who killed themselves.

"And I know of someone in the sophomore class

"who killed themselves.

"And I know someone in the freshman class, "in the eighth grade class, "in the seventh grade class, in the sixth grade class, "and my friend committed suicide later on in life."

It does make you want to cry.

It makes you wanna find out why, and what really happened.

Total different--

But summer is.

This is the way I viewed it.

Porter-Gaud School.

Hi, this is Paige Goldberg, now Tolmach.

I'm a former Porter-Gaud student.

Yes, that's right.

So I wanted to just call you again and ask you another time if you would consider doing an on-camera interview with me about what happened at our school.

I know you weren't there at the time.

You're the current administration at Porter-Gaud, but I just think it would be really great to sit down with you and chat about what happened in the past at our school.

The suicides are still happening.

No one wants to talk about it anymore.

School, when I was your ninth grade teacher, I believe.

And when I got too old I went to work and own a tour business now.

Now I give tours of Charleston which is a teaching, taught me a little bit about human nature and that sort of thing.

It's been a teaching experience for me as well as my learning things along the way.

Who is Eddie Fischer? Tell me what you know about him.

Paige, I really don't want to get into Eddie Fischer.

Let's don't do that.

My Polygon, my Porter-Gaud yearbook from '81.

And it was dedicated to Eddie Fischer.

So, here's the school dedication, Eddie Fischer, who looks so charming and handsome and charismatic, and he was all of those things.

Eddie Fischer was bigger than life.

He was the trainer for the football team.

He was very handsome.

Very charismatic.

Blue eyes, silver-gray hair, a big smile and his bravado, he looked like a movie star.

I thought he was a good teacher, he was fun.

Because he was the cool teacher, who let you drink or smoke or experiment with drugs at his house, I naively asked him to be our advisor for the surf club.

He would get us out of speeding tickets sometimes, and even out of trouble with the school.

Somehow he fixed things.

He strutted around like a peacock.

And he drove this tiny little Porsche with vanity plates.

He owned the school practically.

I don't think Eddie was a scholar, not at all.

I think he's a con artist.

I mean, he's a BS-er.

He'd tell a lot of stories.

You wouldn't know what to believe in the guy.

He embellished everything.

A couple of teachers described him as somebody who was completely incapable of teaching properly and questioned whether the guy was even literate.

Another teacher thought Eddie Fischer was a confidence man, he used those words.

Confidence man.

Parents loved him.

They trusted their children with this guy.

He was just a charmer.

I can remember one of our surf meetings at Eddie Fischer's house.

Here's this old bachelor, living by himself.

There's beer in the fridge and we can drink.

Porn magazines around.

Porn videos, and he was saying, "Oh yeah, pop one in if you want."

At that point I was like, "That's just weird.

"That's not cool."

It was more than weird.

It was actually criminal.

Now several victims are taking civil action against Porter-Gaud and the Charleston County school district.

Two top ranking school officials, Principal James Bishop Alexander, and head master, Berkeley Grimball, are accused of putting students at risk by protecting Fischer and remaining silent.

Victim after victim relived their past, all the stories sounding like the one before.

One victim said the worst crime Fischer committed, was taking away their innocence.

One day five years ago, this box showed up at my door.

One of the survivors had sent everything from the case.

And he knew that I was trying to find out more.

What is the age of the youngest boy that you ever molested?

I think it was 12.

You said you are not a pedophile.

These people we're talking about were as almost as large as me.

With a few exceptions.

Let me make sure I understand what you're saying.

Aside from the age and the fact that you're a teacher, they were just as cooperative as you were?


A 12-year-old and a 15-year-old child?

Yes, absolutely.

I'd run away several times.

I remember him saying this, "Your mom and daddy are good people.

"I know they love you, but, you know

"I guess so many kids, its just hard for him

"to look out for you.

"I'll always be there for you if you ever need anything."

You tell that to a little kid and then you treat him good, you know, make him dependent on you to an extent.

Perfect set up.

Because I felt like that nobody on the fucking planet would believe me.

Oh, without question.

I mean, I didn't see it as a molestation, though.

I was in complete and total denial of the whole situation.

What brought it into focus was the newspaper article that came out.

I think it covered the front page.

Guerry Glover was on TV, and it hit the media.

Well I just could not grasp it.

Guerry Glover.

I remembered him from high school.

He was the first person to stand up and say that he had been molested by Eddie Fischer.

That this had happened to him.

To this day it baffles me that it doesn't bother people.

I just kept thinking, "Surely when the right person

"finds out, they are going to care

"and they are going to do something."

I think I was just this sitting duck.

I mean, looking back on his predatory instincts.

I think when he came to our family, he just saw a sense of vulnerability and he thrived on attacking the vulnerable.

Guerry lived way out on Johns Island and that's an important part of his story is that he lived out on Johns Island, very far from Porter-Gaud.

We lived out in the country and I always felt apart from, because we lived out there, but, there was these rye fields.

And the rye was like this tall.

It was such a different world.

I remember having puppies and dogs.

All these people that worked on the farm.

Guerry's father was a humble farmer.

An incredibly decent man.

Everybody knew him and he was well loved.

Just a nice tomato farmer who just wants his tomato rows to be good and looks out for the people that work for him.

When he was nine-years-old, Eddie Fischer came over to his house on Johns Island.

He was helping with the transportation for one of Guerry's sisters, and then Guerry told me about how that was the beginning.

He was strictly out to get what he wanted.

Purposefully, maliciously, pick out little children to twist and just cause pain.

How would you describe your relationship with the Glovers?

It wasn't really close but it was, I don't know how to explain it.

We were friends but we weren't real close friends.

Had you been to their house?

We know you've been there one time.

Yes. Other than that one time?

Oh, yes, yes, yes.

On many occasions? Yes.

Did you become friends with any of the other Glover children?

Not to speak of, just to know, yes.

You know, oh, I knew the whole family.

And did you molest that young man?


It scares me that I couldn't see Eddie Fischer for what he was.

I only saw him as someone I was supposed to look up to.

Someone I was supposed to trust.

My first memories of Eddie Fischer were summers on Sullivan's Island.

I was five.

I always sat near the water and did sand castles.

He would parade up and down the beach with a flock of boys.

And, he would call me Minnie.

I loved having a nickname.

And also, my brother was at Porter-Gaud.

Wow. I just kind of put that together, too.

I never really thought about the fact that, no wonder he was around lot.

To understand why it happened here, I think it's important to understand the history.

Charleston has this legacy of denial.

The city has a unique history of trauma itself.

There was a horrendous Civil War that left the city completely decimated, and then one hurricane after another.

This town was destroyed and rebuilt over and over.

At the same time, you also had this fortress mentality that had built up over time.

Refugees from religious persecution, people fleeing, slave insurrections.

And they all came here to Charleston with all of this internal wiring of fear.

You know, the school's roots start with Reverend Anthony Toomer Porter.

If you look at his autobiography, it talks about his son as having the exceptional spiritual demeanor.

Somebody who just radiated gentleness.

And then he lost his son.

He grieved for years.

He buried him in Magnolia Cemetery.

One day he was in that cemetery, completely beside himself, sobbing.

And then hears a voice and then the voice tells him to get up and start doing something for the living.

So he founds an orphanage for boys who were orphaned during the Civil War.

He builds a small school.

So it was all boys all those years.

When I was in third grade, they started letting in girls.

And I thought I was gonna be the first graduating class of girls so I really thought that was cool.

A major part of my childhood was this school and everything it stood for.

The motto on the Porter-Gaud bell tower was "Watch."

"Words." "Actions."

"Thoughts." "Character."

And "Habits."

We, all of us have a tendency to wanna put the responsibility on the victim for telling and bringing it out and it's really not their responsibility.

Children just do not tell because adults believe adults.

If you have an adult come into the room and say, "The child threw that vase on the floor."

And the child says, "No, daddy did it."

You're not going to question who did it.

You're gonna believe.

And that's their experience with life.

Why in the world would any child ever tell? Ever.

Because there's so much to lose and you don't know if there's anything to gain.

Oh yeah.

He made it plain, "You can't ever tell anybody this.

"You just can't tell anybody about it."

He didn't give a big list of reasons, just, you know, couldn't talk about it.

It just...

The way he fucked with your mind.

Guerry had one of the most chilling quotes.

He said, "You're dying to tell someone about it, "but you're scared to death that anybody will find out."

I'm pretty confident the large majority of the victims in our town have never come forward in any way.

They've never reported to authorities.

They've never sought any type of mental health treatment.

They may not have even told their spouses about what happened to them.

One of the biggest reasons Eddie Fischer was able to get away with this for 40-some odd years, is because of the very victims that he chose.

The majority of his victims are the rich and powerful.

The movers and shakers in Downtown Charlestown.

Across every field: medical, legal, political, business.

The whole gamut. They're in there.

This is a culture where you don't bring scandal in the family name, and the boys understood that.

There's a saying in Charleston that

"We're too poor to paint, but we're too proud to whitewash."

So make sure the front of the house looks good, but we don't have enough money to paint the sides and the back so that everything else around it is peeling and falling apart.

Powerful families.


Having things on the surface look beautiful or classical in that Charleston sense and you know, it was BS.

Let's just call it what it is: sexual abuse.

The most difficult thing that many victims have to overcome is the sense of shame and stigmatization, guilt, and self-blame.

There are a lot of guys in Downtown Charleston today, by outward appearances, they're highly successful, high functioning guys, but they share this secret, which is pretty sad.

I didn't understand what I was getting into when I got involved in this case other than I knew it was the rich people in Charleston and they harbored a pedophile.

That's all I needed to know.

Make a right on Gadsden.

This is the house right here.

Oh my god.

Yeah, on the corner.

A teacher had been arrested on some sex charges.

Went straight to this house.

Out came an older guy in his underwear.

And he said, "I don't know much about these charges.

"All I know is that sometimes in a life, "things can change in a second.

"You don't know why."

People think pedophiles are these surly guys in trench coats lurking in the shadows and offering kids candy as they go by.

Those guys get caught early.

The ones who are more accomplished, if I could use that word, are the Eddie Fischers.

They are educated.

They are warm.

They are funny.

They are engaging.

Eddie Fischer, you know, he grew up in Charleston, and I found his yearbook.

Eddie Fischer was best bullshooter.

That was his superlative.

And then, in his 20s, he was teaching in a Catholic school called Sacred Heart, and that's where he began to molest children, there.

Early 60s.

Did the molestation occur while you were employed by Sacred Heart?


He was a Sacred Heart student? He was.

What was his age when you molested him?

I have no idea. I wanna say 12 or 13.


Was he your first victim?

I would say yes, he was my first victim, period.

Does anyone know about the Sacred Heart molestations?

It's hard to say because there are no records, according to the diocese of why he left.

How and why did he get from Sacred Heart to Rivers?

That's an unanswered question.

Did you have any problems while you were employed at Rivers High School?

Not at all.

Why did you leave Rivers High School?

Because they asked me to come to Porter-Gaud.

Fischer volunteered with the football team at Porter-Gaud before he was actually hired there, for a year or two.

He knew Principal James Bishop Alexander.

This guy was my principal.

Major James Bishop Skipper Alexander.

He was a military guy who had run the all boys boarding school, before it became Porter-Gaud.

We called him The Maj.

My brother had gone to Porter-Gaud when it was Porter Military.

And Maj, Major Alexander, and my brother were very close.

When my brother got married, Maj and Mr. Fischer went to Chattanooga for the wedding and, um, they stayed together in the same house.

They had a history together.

They had both gone to The Citadel, the military college here in Charleston.

Eddie Fischer graduated from The Citadel in 1950.

Skip Alexander was in the same class.

The Maj gave Fischer a job at Porter-Gaud.

Mr. Fischer, I want to go back to exhibit number one, and I've opened the exhibit to page 111.

I'd like to direct your attention to line four where your attorney was addressed in the court, quote, "It's a real tragedy that there

"were people in the past, 15, 18 years ago, "that were aware that Mr. Fischer had an illness," end quote.

Is he referring to the fact that 15 or 18 years ago, Skip Alexander had learned of your sexual tendencies with regards to young boys?

No sir. Skip Alexander had no idea at any time of what had happened.

In his first semester there, the fall of 1972, Fischer approached a kid, and Fischer was gonna meet him at the South Windermere shopping center at a drug store, and said three things to him.

"There are women in Charleston, older women, "who will pay you for sex.

"And what I need you to do is not tell your parents.

"Don't masturbate before you come, "and you will go in a boy and come out a man."

The boy then tells his brother, and his brother says, "No good," and he tells his parents. Did the right thing.

They go to the drug store parking lot.

There's Fischer, there's their son.

They get the son and say, "Come home."

And the father went to the school and told them.

I mean, there is no way you can rehear that story and go, "Maybe there was a misunderstanding."

The father went to who?

Major Alexander and Berkeley Grimball.

Dr. Berkeley Grimball.

He was our head master.

Corner office, name plate on the desk.

So Berkeley Grimball was ultimately the person who was responsible for the faculty and staff.

At that point, according to Grimball, Fischer sort of put on some sort of informal probation.

There's no indication of that whatsoever that he ever did that.

He never told anybody else at the school about it.

Grimball was the first headmaster Porter-Gaud ever had.

He'd been teaching children since 1948.

And he was being warned about Fischer from the very beginning.

Within the first six months, they knew what he was, and they did nothing to stop it.

Once the story came out, people said, "Oh, we would have known."


And this is just my anger.

Porter-Gaud knew, and they didn't do anything.

Who are these people who don't wanna get involved?

Who don't wanna speak up? Who don't wanna know?

They are the people who run the community.

My god, what would happen to them?

They are the elite.

They have the most to lose.

They knew what was going on, and they didn't do anything, so, regardless of how I cried out, or to whom, it didn't matter 'cause they already knew.

Let's go, shall we?

The more you know, the more you see when you look back at the past.

When I opened the box, the past came pouring out.

I remember driving with this boy who was in high school with me.

He was a little bit older.

He'd asked me out on a tennis date.

It was so innocent.

I remember sitting in the car, looking over at him.

I said, "Hey, what are some things

"you like to do after school?"

He looked at me and said, "I hang out a lot at Coach Fischer's house."

"Wow, what do you do there?"

"Well we play games.

"We hang out at the beach.

"And sometimes he shows me movies.

"He shows me sex movies."

"Sex movies?" I said.

"Yes," he replied.

"And sometimes he touches me.

"Coach Fischer says it's good because

"one day when I'm with girls, "I'll know what to do."

I heard this, and I did nothing and never told a soul.

And now I'm ashamed.

And I'm embarrassed.

And I'm so sorry.

While you were at Porter-Gaud, tell me all the various places where you molested young men.

On the school grounds in that little room, in the dressing room, that was it.

In the training room? Training room.

Yeah, there it is.

That is the headmaster's office.

That's the principal's office.

That's Fischer standing.

You can see him standing with his leg up, touching a student.

I mean, he knew he couldn't get in trouble.

Once he knew that the administration had his back, it was open field running, and he molested dozens and dozens of boys at that school, and he was confident that nothing was gonna happen to him.

You also said earlier, "None of this really hit until I was at Porter-Gaud."

That's right. Tell me what you mean by that.

I didn't get involved in all this until I got to Porter-Gaud.

To speak of, as a, I call, an epidemic.

It was a minor epidemic.

And then I started, I didn't really realize what wrong I was doing at that time.

Ignorance of it.

Now you, you said earlier, you really couldn't tell me how many victims there were at Porter-Gaud. No.

Was it more than 25?

I don't know.

Could it be more than 50? No. I would say no.

How did he engage you?

He would speak to me in Spanish.

He'd say, "Hola? "Como esta?"

And I thought that was great, you know.

But he would go out of his way to be friendly.

And then, because we would talk, he figured out what was of interest to me.

So, early to mid-70s, there were all these programs and media published about Bermuda Triangle.

The whole Erich Von Daniken Chariot of the Gods, you know, guys from outer space.

ESP. Kirlian photography.

All this really cool, fascinating stuff.

So, the whole incident gets set up with him telling me he had had a dream about me, and it was very important.

He said it was so important that he couldn't talk about it at school.

So, it's like, "Whoa, this must be significant.

"Something, we're talking, life changing."

So we go for a walk on the beach.

I'm thinking, "Wow, this is cool.

"I'm hanging out with him.

"Wait till my friends hear about this."

He finally said, "I'll tell you about the dream.

"In my dream, you asked me to teach you about sex."

I'm like, "What?"

You know, I am completely disappointed.

I don't know, I thought he was gonna say, "Oh, I dreamed that you are the chosen one

"for this epic thing."

And then he starts revealing something that I did not know.

According to him, there's these older women who wanna have sex with kids like me.

I mean, wow.

I am blown away.

I can't even get a kiss off a girl my age, or even younger, probably at that time.

And suddenly, here's this guy telling me, "Kissing's, you know, pffht.

"You're gonna be fucking all these women."

And I'm thinking I've hit the jackpot.

This is the mother of all jackpots.

Did you ever tell any of these boys that you could get them sex with older women?

No. And the women would pay them?

Isn't that one of the ways, though, that you got some of these victims, at least, to come over your house?

Nothing was ever said about sex until we got to the house.

A few things were said, what were to be said, but the sex never took place until we got to the house.

Oh I understand that, but I'm talking about how--

I'm talking about the conversation.

...how you got some of these young men to your house.

Did you ever tell them, "I can arrange sex for you

"with older women and they will pay you for it?"

I can't remember that, I need to be frank.

We eventually get back.

And there he said, "We need to shower."

And I thought, "Well that's kind of odd.

"We didn't go swimming or anything like that."

"Okay, he goes, well we have sand."

And then we're both showering together and I think, "This is really odd."

But I don't wanna be uncool, so I'm going along with it thinking, "Okay.

"I guess that's what you do."

After we get out of the shower and we're drying, he says, "Lie down on the bed."

So I lied down, just like, "Well, this is weird."

And next thing I know, he's on my back, and pressing his body against mine and he's fondling me and he's kissing my neck.

And I'm like, "Oh, you know, this is kind of, "no, I'm not into this.

"I'm not into this."

So he says, "But you have to be trained

"for this job, Cah-los."

'Cause he always called me like that, "Cah-los.

"Sex is just touch and feel.

"That's all it is, just touch and feel."

"It's just touch and feel."

"It doesn't matter who's on the other end."

"Does it feel good?

"That's all that matters, nothing else.

"There's nothing else."

"And that's all sex is."

"It's nothing more than that."

My only sense of Mr. Fisher has come through speaking with the victims.

But, my feeling is, he really had parents snowed.

Then there's that whole other layer of it, of everybody knowing.

When I first got over there in '75.

So we went to Berkeley Grimball.

We thought that Fischer might be a peeping Tom or something like that, you know.

He's hanging around the male locker room all the time, and he's always with young boys.

So, Dr. Grimball's reply was, "You have no proof of anything, except a gut feeling.

"You could get sued, and so could we as a school get sued.

"And that's serious, those allegations."

He impressed upon us how serious those allegations were.

Among the things the students called Eddie Fischer, was Fast Eddie.

He was kind of the school nurse in a way.

The joke was, that, no matter what part of your body you injured, he would say, "Drop your drawers." "You gotta drop your drawers.

"I gotta check to see if you've got a hernia."

And I was like, what? I said, "It's my knee, coach."

You twisted your ankle, you gotta drop your drawers.

Sore throat, you gotta... Drop your drawers.

The "Drop your drawers." "Drop your drawers."

For everything that happened.

If you hurt your leg or pulled a muscle or whatever, you would have to have your genitals checked.

There was a school assembly where somebody actually performed a skit making fun of Eddie Fischer and his tendency to say, "Drop your drawers."

It was that ingrained in our vocabulary.

Everyone was involved.

Fellow students who would joke about it in the hallways.

The teachers. The parents. The school itself.

We were all complicit.

I mean, if a person were blind, deaf, and dumb he would've known.

I mean, the entire damn student body knew.

How in the hell could Skip Alexander not know?

How could the officials not know?

How could some parents not know?

Did you ever drive up to school with a young man in the car?

Oh, yes, oh yeah.

Did anybody ever ask you about it?

Nobody ever asked me a word.

My boyfriend and I were going to a leadership training conference.

I picture the room.

Everybody was sitting on the floor and there was a stage.

There was some faculty there because there were advisors and it was the student body government.

We stood up and we said, "You guys, c'mon.

"What is the deal?

"We wanna talk about Eddie Fischer.

"What is going on?

"This 'Drop your drawers' thing is not funny.

"Why are some of our friends going over there at night?"

Even though there were people there that knew it to be true, nobody was walking up to us afterwards and saying, "Oh gosh, thank you for finally

"bringing this up."

We had to have some kind of faith in grown ups that they were then gonna pursue it and try to make sense of what was going on.

There was none of that.


Hi, it's Paige Tolmach calling you.

I wanted to just call you again.

I know we spoke when I first started working on this project about our school, and I wanted to see if you would do an interview with me on camera then, and you did not want to.

And now I'm almost at the end of my project and I wanted to circle back and see if you were interested in talking now.

Maybe you'd want to talk to me about what happened.

About Guerry.

Just about what went down at our school.

Do you wanna do that? Would you talk to me now?

I really don't really care to be on camera on it.

I tried to forget most of it.

I was the vice president of the student body.

With that came president of the honor council.

My advisor comes in and says, "We have to have a meeting on Thursday.

"Guerry Glover cheated on a project."

And I had to tell Guerry that he was kicked out of Porter-Gaud.

I was trying as hard as I could.

I mean, I had gotten in trouble and gotten in trouble, and it was so I could get expelled so I could get away from Fischer.

I didn't know that he had cheated on the project to get kicked out of Porter-Gaud.

That was his way of trying to get away.

From Eddie Fischer. From Eddie Fischer.

Coach Fischer left Porter-Gaud that year, 1982, because of a boy I knew. One of my friends.

But I didn't know what happened to my friend until after his suicide.

The only student who ever told his parents was the 1982 student.

And his parents acted appropriately.

They went to the school and said, "Either you do something about this guy or we're going to."

And the school assured them they were gonna do everything right.

They were gonna protect kids.

They were gonna make sure Eddie never taught again.

They were gonna do all this stuff.

The parents complained to Skip Alexander.

Berkeley Grimball claims that he told Alexander, "Just fire the guy."

And that's when Eddie Fischer left that school.

But he wasn't fired.

He was allowed to resign.

They decided that they would just let me coast in a week or two weeks and then at the end of school, when nobody's around, and I would be-- I would go.

When I asked Grimball, "Why didn't you fire him?"

Grimball said, "Well I didn't wanna ruin

"the guy's career."

Did you mean his career as a teacher, or his career as a serial pedophile?

'Cause he certainly didn't ruin either one of 'em.

In fact, he advanced both of those careers.

Berkeley Grimball writes, "Dear Eddie.

"I was genuinely sorry that your career

"with the school ended the way it did.

"For you certainly deserve..."

"...credit for accomplishing

"many positive things

"for the good of the school and the students

"throughout the years you were on the faculty

"at Porter-Gaud.

"It is my hope that something good will come out

"of this experience and you will take positive steps

"to ensure that nothing like it will ever happen..."

"...in your life again.

"Let me know if I can ever be of any help in anything.

"Sincerely, Berkeley Grimball, Headmaster."

Eddie Fisher got a job at College Prep, the same school Guerry transferred to.

So the abuse continued, because Berkeley Grimball never let the new school know that they were hiring a pedophile.

While you were at College Prep how many young men did you have sexual contact with?

About three.

At East Cooper how many students--

None, nobody.

At James Island High School, how many?

I'd say four.

Now, during any of this time, how many young men have you had sexual contact with who were not students of yours?

I don't know. Well, as we go down the list, not many did I actually have in the classroom, but some, yes.

How can Major Alexander have let this happen?

How could Dr. Grimball?

How could they have a conscience and let this happen?

It was your thought at the time that Porter-Gaud, not wanting any problems, would result in them writing you a farewell recommendation.

I do think you're correct.

Can I make myself disappear?

If people knew, what would they think of you?

I mean, you knew there was something wrong with you.

I knew there was something wrong with me that caused that.

As I'm driving home, I'm thinking, "I'm this disgusting creature."

I'm thinking there's, "I'm not gonna laugh again ever."

There's sewage that's entered into my body.

My body has become defiled.

It's not who I am.

I've been transformed into something else.

You drink lots of Jack Daniel's, you smoke lots of pot.

You wreck cars, you sit in cars with the exhaust coming in in the ninth grade.

I remember that.


I wrote the note and everything.

You have all that going on in your head.

I was trying so hard to... keep it all okay and look like it was all okay and, all that.

What would you say, if you could, to your younger self right now, at Porter-Gaud?

If your older self could talk to your younger self, what would you say?

Go get 10 gallons of gasoline and a match.

It was my senior year in college.

I saw Fischer in his car with this little kid in the car.

So, I went to his house.

We ended up just screaming at each other.

When I went there and said, "I know what's up," it was from a real different place.

And he knew that.

This thing happened in full agreement, but here they are with wives and all now, they have to make me look like the villain and they look like the little saint.

'Cause I was so angry.

Because it had very much been, "Guerry's the problem.

"Guerry got kicked out of Porter-Gaud.

"Guerry did this, Guerry did that," while all these other people were the good children and Porter-Gaud was the wonderful school.

I said, "You know, I'm going to Porter-Gaud."

He went to three different attorneys until one agreed to take his case.

Guerry called me one morning in May of 1997.

He had been frustrated by his third attempt to go to Porter-Gaud and get them to help him get Fischer out of teaching.

They had rebuffed him for the third time.

I wrote a letter to the superintendent of the public schools.

And the letter explained to him, "You've got to find out what happened

"because if it's true, you've got to protect the children

"and if it's false, you've got to protect the teacher."

So you've got to do some kind of investigation.

And the moment those inquiries began to be made, Eddie Fischer elected to retire.

Shortly thereafter, Gregg called and said

"I was talking to Porter-Gaud's lawyer

"and they were like, 'What do you want?'

"They're not gonna pay you, he's met with the full board, "they're not intimidated by you. What do you want?"

He wanted them to fix it.

He didn't want Fischer running rampant and unrestrained and unfettered.

He wanted the man to be held accountable and he wanted the school to change the way it worked.

And so that was when I wrote the letter.

Sat down.

Seven page letter.

All the gory details.

23 copies.

Certified mail to each member of the board.

The school board was made up of people of the community.

Many of them were former students at Porter-Gaud.

They owned businesses, worked as doctors and lawyers.

And most of them were parents.

"Dear board member, "What I have wanted from the beginning

"was for someone to help me

"appropriately address this problem.

"I want to, with a clear conscience, "know that I have done all that I can do, "and then move on with my life.

"I want you to work with me to address the painful

"and prevalent problem of childhood sexual abuse."

He wasn't after any kind of vindication or, you know, targeting people.

He just wanted it to stop.

And I really kept thinking, if they understood, they would respond appropriately.

But they just didn't care.

They were so resistant to even the suggestion that maybe they had done something wrong.

"But we're Porter-Gaud. "We don't do anything wrong.

"And so you have to just go away."

They still haven't reacted to the letter.

Hello? This is Paige Tolmach.

I'm a former Charlestonian.

I'm working on a project about Porter-Gaud, which is where I went to school back in the 80s.

Guerry, when he was trying to sort of get justice, did a lot of things.

One of the things he did was send a letter to the board members at the time.

You were one of them, as a big board.

And, um, and he didn't get responses, and I just wanted to know what it was.

I'm a mom and on the board of my son's school.

I wanted to talk to you.

You say, "Why didn't you respond?"

I'd say I don't know, 'cause I don't remember the date of the letter.

I assume we all just might have turned those letters over to the attorney for Porter-Gaud.

So if you don't remember receiving the letter, then what did you talk about as a board?

Were you like, "Oh my god, this horrible thing has happened.

"We have to do something?"

I don't ever remember it being discussed in the board meeting.

Edward Fischer, the former Lowe Country teacher accused of molesting possibly over 50 students didn't have much to say.

The worst crime Fischer committed was taking away their innocence.

Guerry set in motion two different legal battles.

The first one was the criminal case against Eddie Fischer.

I am very ready to get on with my life.

By the time we got to court, Eddie Fischer was not the man that he had been.

He was sick.

I think a lot of it was exaggerated, perhaps, but he was sick.

He had emphysema, if I'm not mistaken.

He was sitting right in front me.

Towards the end, I'm just looking at him and he's just completely vacant.

There's nobody there.

The second battle was a civil case against Porter-Gaud.

When I got to tell my father, it was very much

"Fischer molested me" and dah dah dah and Maj knew and he went, "Maj knew this and didn't do anything?"

I mean...

And he never moved beyond that.


How do you know and not do what you're supposed to do?

I mean, that just...

Guerry had me meet Harold, his dad, on Saturday.

Harold Glover said if he'd known the first thing about this, he would have settled the problem with a baseball bat.

Now that's very uncharacteristic of Harold.

He was not a hot head.

I mean, he was just... the salt of the Earth kind of guy and really a man possessed of enormous dignity.

What I heard from Harold was just the incredible disappointment he had in the people at the school that he thought so highly of.

And what they didn't do for his son when they knew his son was in trouble.

And Harold had said, "What can I do to help these boys?"

And that was when Gregg first started thinking about a parent's claim.

Attorneys say the lawsuit could be a milestone.

That to their knowledge, it's the first class action lawsuit filed in a molestation case.

But what's also unusual is that it's being spearheaded by a victim's father.

There's an old saying in the law about the lion tamer.

Don't sue the lion, I'd sue the lion tamer because it's his job, especially if the lion tamer knows that that lion is a vicious lion and not a calm lion.

Because they knew what Fisher was.

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

We represent first and foremost, Porter-Gaud school, and I ask you to reserve your judgment until you have heard all of the evidence.

Berkeley Grimball, most arrogant human being I've ever met in my life.

And probably will be unsurpassed.

His deposition testimony caused gasps from the jury when we read it.

And particularly the question of, "Well, Mr., Grimball, "if there was a pedophile in your son's school, "wouldn't you want to know?"

And the answer was, "Not unless he was bothering my children."

They had a responsibility to provide a safe environment to children, and their lawyers actually argued that Porter-Gaud School had no legal duty to provide a safe environment for children.

Eddie Fischer's life was completely and totally incubated, cultivated, and facilitated by Skip Alexander.

It's the only way he could have done what he did.

We wanted to take Alexander's deposition as one of the first things we did.

And, I think we were to depose him on a Tuesday and over that weekend, he got in his car, he drove to Southern North Carolina.

Parked himself on a rural road.

Wrote a note out.

Covered himself with a blanket and shot himself.

He knew that all of these issues were going to come out of his involvement, and he started making plans.

Of course he's committed suicide.

Because he didn't have the nerve to come and sit in a witness chair and tell the truth about what he knew and when he knew it and what he did.

What the evidence and the testimony revealed after Maj's death, was that he also liked young boys.

There was always a pound of flesh that had to be paid.

You couldn't go into Skipper's house without his wanting to get in the shower naked with you, or give you a massage or stroke you in some way.

Or give you a head massage or cut your hair, or shave all the hair off your body, or, whatever the hell he wanted to do.

But then again, I wasn't the only one.

He was the kingpin. He thought he was God Almighty.

But God wouldn't do such a thing.

James Bishop Alexander should have gone to prison.

I think he should have been criminally charged before he cowardly committed suicide.

But he wasn't charged, and no one ever thought about him.

I will always say what Porter-Gaud did was so much worse than what Fischer did.

I believe that to the core of my being.

Today jurors spoke volumes about what happened, presenting damages of $45 million against each man's estate, saying this should send a message to school administrators everywhere.

Most of the jurors are parents and we had sort of to put ourselves in that category of being a parent and have this happen to our child as far as how we really felt about it.

Porter-Gaud, Major Alexander, and Berkeley Grimball, were all found negligent.

The jury's verdict of $105 million was the most ever in the Charleston County Court of common pleas.

While a dozen or so looked on, Porter-Gaud officials tried to make peace.

And we're profoundly sorry for the pain of all who have been affected by these terrible events.

A public apology to victims hurt by former teacher, Eddie Fischer, but the apology was not made directly to the victims, instead a public statement to open ears.

Porter-Gaud publicly apologized in such a way that they only told a few media people and didn't tell any of us.

So we found out after the fact.

I would have liked to have been there and to have heard them.

If you actually mean the apology, why couldn't you look at us, right?

And they didn't.

It wasn't just Porter-Gaud letting the kids down.

It's the community rallying behind the school.

At every turn, there was somebody who could have done the right thing and didn't.

Wouldn't do it. Wouldn't do it.

They could have done it, and they wouldn't do it.

A couple of years after I opened the box, I got a call about my high school reunion.

It had been 30 years since my last day at Porter-Gaud.

I looked around the room at all my former classmates, who are doctors, lawyers, business people.

And most of us are parents.

Just like the Porter-Gaud board members who got Guerry's letter in 1997.

But that is where I go to get so angry all over again because yes, they want to say, "Oh that was a long time ago, "that was a couple of troublemakers 40 years ago," but, no it wasn't and... look at the people from Porter-Gaud who have died.

I did this story years ago. It's an old story.

You know, you do a story and it disappears.

I think it's an important story because, it's still happening.

The death toll keeps on rising, so it still haunts a lot of people, and until we bring this fully out into the open, you know, it's still always there.

It's the same story.

We hear it again and again.

The coach, the teacher, the kids, the cover up.

What's the common denominator?


There's a monster inside each of us that stops us from doing what's right.

I think we all want our children to have the perfect childhood.

And we don't wanna bring up bad stuff.

My son was good friends with a little boy whose father killed himself over this.

Why should I not share with them what happened so that it won't happen again?

So here's the truth.

Eddie Fischer is not what haunts us.

And here we are, sir, at the end of a long day.

We've discussed a lot of victims, a lot of years, a lot of parents that you knew, a lot of schools.

Would you agree with me that it's rather dis-believable that your associates did not know what was going on?

When I think about it now, I can agree with you, yes.

And if they did, they didn't say anything.

I think the things we try to keep in the dark haunt us in the daylight.

We can box them up, but they never really go away,

until we embrace them and set ourselves free.

Guerry's a great liberator.

He liberated Charleston from this one pedophile, but he liberated all of us that were involved from this evil that we carried within.

But just like every liberator, it's not enough for the liberator to act.

People have to then avail themselves of that liberation to become free.

Because some of us have killed ourselves.

I told Guerry, "I'm so proud of what you did

"and how much courage it took for you to do that.

Uncovered all these ghosts from the past and that was part of it, like, revealing... these things that we had kept hidden, and that have haunted us for so long.

But this freedom is not just something that you just consume.

It's something that you have to act with, dance with, to make it real.

And that's what Guerry did.

He invited us to become free again.

And that's an awesome gift.

There are lots of people that spend their lives being angry, and I just wasn't gonna do that.

It's not like an amazing virtue.

It was just... this was so much bigger than me.