The Complicity of Silence: Confronting Ecosystems of Child Sexual Abuse in Schools

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Author Amos N. Guiora
Publisher Full Court Press

In November 1997 twelve-year-old Jeremy Bell was killed at the hands of Edgar W. Friedrichs, a serial pedophile, teacher, and later principal, who taught for decades at Pennsylvania and West Virginia schools despite extensive complaints submitted to school administrators. In The Complicity of Silence: Confronting Ecosystems of Child Sexual Abuse in Schools, law professor Amos N. Guiora carefully analyzes the case with the assistance and extraordinary documentation of Dan Barber, the private investigator who solved it.

As an expert in the power systems that allow the worst criminal behavior to fester unobstructed, Guiora uses the specific facts of the Bell case to demonstrate how a network of enablers and bystanders “passing the trash” allowed a proven predator to remain free and access children at several schools from 1975 to 2001, while advocating for the broader policy changes and social safeguards that are necessary to prevent such disasters from occurring in the future.


Amos N. Guiora is Professor of Law at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, the University of Utah. He is a Distinguished Fellow at The Consortium for the Research and Study of Holocaust and the Law at Chicago-Kent College of Law, and a Distinguished Fellow and Counselor at the International Center for Conflict Resolution, Katz School of Business, University of Pittsburgh. Guiora serves on the Board of the Lauren McClusky Foundation. In 2023 Guiora received the University of Utah’s Distinguished Faculty Service award and in 2024 the University of Utah College of Law Outstanding Professor Award. For the past ten years Guiora has been researching, writing, and lecturing on the question of bystanders (originally in the Holocaust) resulting in his previous books, The Crime of Complicity: The Bystander in the Holocaust and Armies of Enablers: Survivor Stories of Complicity and Betrayal in Sexual Assaults. Guiora established the College of Law’s Bystander Initiative.