Extent of child-sex predator William Vahey’s crime may never be known

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 April, 2014, 10:30pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 April, 2014, 10:30pm


The FBI has asked for the public's help to identify at least 90 potential victims of a suspected child molester who worked in schools around the world for more than four decades before killing himself last month in the US state of Minnesota.

William James Vahey, 64, killed himself on March 21, two days after agents filed for a warrant to search a computer thumb drive that belonged to Vahey. An employee of the American Nicaraguan School in Managua, where Vahey had recently taught history and geography, gave the drive to the US embassy there.

The drive contained pornographic images of at least 90 boys, aged 12 to 14, who appeared to be drugged and unconscious, the FBI said. Spokeswoman Special Agent Shauna Dunlap said investigators suspected the boys were students of Vahey's, going back to 2008, and that he had molested all of them.

Vahey, an American, had taught in at least nine international schools in Asia, Europe and the Middle East since 1972, as well as 10 schools in the US. In East Asia, he taught at the Jakarta International School in Indonesia from 1992 until 2002.

"When confronted about the images by a school administrator, Vahey confessed that he was molested as a child and had preyed on boys his entire life, giving them sleeping pills prior to the molestation," according to a statement on the FBI's website.

The photos were catalogued with dates and locations that corresponded with overnight field trips that Vahey had taken with students since 2008, but he had led students on such trips for his entire career, the FBI said.

"I'm concerned that he may have preyed on many other students prior to 2008," Special Agent Patrick Fransen said. "I've never seen another case where an individual may have molested this many children over such a long period of time."

The FBI said Vahey was jailed for child molestation in California in 1969, but this did not emerge when the Nicaraguan school checked his background.