Spotlight on abuse: Episcopal lay employee Eddie Fischer

By | April 2, 2022
Episcopal lay employee Eddie Fischer

Lay employee Eddie Fischer taught at the prestigious Episcopal Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, South Carolina from 1972 to 1982. Subsequently he taught at College Preparatory School and James Island High School. He was discovered to have abused 20 boys at Porter-Gaud, and as many as 50 total. Fischer was arrested in 1997 largely as a result of persistent efforts by one of his victims, Guerry Glover, whose father Harold Glover filed a civil suit against Porter-Gaud the following year. In April 1999, Fischer was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In October 2000, following Fischer’s incarceration, a court determined that principal James Bishop Alexander and headmaster Berkeley Grimball knew of the abuse by Fischer. The jury deemed both negligent. Neither Alexander nor Grimball were convicted, as each died prior to the court concluding. However, the court awarded the initial plaintiffs $105 million. Fischer died in prison in 2002. Additional settlements through 2004 with other victims were made in the amounts of $10 million and more than $22 million.

Porter-Gaud was the subject of 2018 Emmy-nominated documentary, What Haunts Us. The film contends the suicides of six graduates of the 1979 class were due to the mental impact of being sexually abused by Fischer. The colluding culture of the school with board members ignoring persistent pleas, revealed that these young victims were trapped within a culture where the surface of respectability had to be maintained at all costs. Porter-Gaud made a general public apology but not to the victims themselves.

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