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'What Haunts Us' documentary examines the culture of silence around sexual abuse

Former Porter-Gaud teacher Eddie Fischer was arrested for child sexual abuse in 1997.
Former Porter-Gaud teacher Eddie Fischer was arrested for child sexual abuse in 1997.

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In the new documentary, “What Haunts Us,” director/producer Paige Goldberg Tolmach returns to her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina to find out why so many male former students at her prep school alma mater were dying by suicide.

What Tolmach knew was that Eddie Fischer, a popular former teacher and coach at Porter-Gaud School, had been convicted of child sexual abuse in the late 1990s. He later admitted to molesting at least 39 boys.

What she didn’t know, was the extent to which school administrators had covered up Fischer’s sexual predation and how they’d allowed him to continue abusing children by giving him a favorable recommendation in 1982, when he was forced to leave Porter-Gaud. 

Fischer's departure from the school came about after one of Tolmach’s friends told his parents he’d been abused. Tolmach didn't know what had happened until she learned of her friend's suicide.

Tolmach spoke with The Frame's John Horn about what prompted her to make "What Haunts Us," and why the culture of silence at her school is not unlike what plagues Hollywood.

"What Haunts Us" is playing at DOC NYC on Monday, November 13.

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