Jeremy Bell suit settled

By John O'Brien | Dec 21, 2006

FAYETTEVILLE - The family of a boy who died mysteriously at his principal's cabin recently settled its lawsuit against the Fayette County Board of Education.

Susan Williams of the Charleston Gazette reported that the amount of the settlement is $2.2 million and was signed off on by Fayette Circuit Judge John Hatcher.

The suit was filed by the family of Jeremy Bell, who died in 1997 at the age of 12 while at the cabin of Edgar Friedrichs Jr., then the principal at Beckwith Elementary School. Friedrichs was convicted in August 2005 of Bell's murder while serving a 30-65-year term for child molestation. He's now serving life in prison.

Bell's parents attempted to sue in federal court, too, but were unsuccessful. Their son apparently died from drinking chloroform while at the cabin.

Fayette's board of education was blamed for not investigating Friedrich's past. A recently filed case in Kanawha Court blames the board and the state board for the same, filed by a man who allegedly did not remember his own molestation until investigators began to ask him about Friedrich last year.

Larry Coon's lawsuit was filed Oct. 30.

Friedrich, the complaint says, worked in the Interboro School District in Pennsylvania for nine years until he was fired because of sexual misconduct against students. However, both the district and Pennsylvania Board of Education helped perpetuate letters of recommendation written by employees at Prospect Park Elementary School to be sent to Fayette County when Friedrichs was relocating, it adds.

Arriving in Fayette County in 1975, Friedrichs eventually worked at five different schools. He's currently incarcerated Southern Regional Jail.

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