Apr 23, 2014 9:04 AM
The FBI is asking for the public's help to identify victims of a suspected serial child predator. 64-year-old William James Vahey taught in private American schools overseas in nine different countries beginning in 1972. The victims are believed to be boys between the ages of 12 and 14; and they may be unaware of what happened to them.
Vahey was jailed in California in 1969 for child molestation, and he committed suicide last month. The FBI says he killed himself days after his employer saw a thumb drive belonging to him that contained pornographic images of boys who were likely drugged. At the time, Vahey was teaching ninth-grade world history and geography at the American Nicaraguan School in Managua.
When confronted about the images by a school administrator, Vahey allegedly confessed that he was molested as a child and had preyed on boys his entire life, giving them sleeping pills prior to the molestation.
The thumb drive contained sexually graphic images of at least 90 victims, according to Special Agent Patrick Fransen. Officials say the photographs were cataloged with dates and locations that corresponded to Vahey's overnight field trips with students beginning in 2008. However, the investigation has revealed that Vahey accompanied students on similar trips throughout his career.
"I'm concerned that he may have preyed on many other students prior to 2008," he said. "I've never seen another case where an individual may have molested this many children over such a long period of time."
At this point in the investigation, photographed victims are being identified and notified. Those who believe they may have been victims are being encouraged to come forward-not only to aid investigators but potentially to seek services through the FBI's Office for Victim Assistance. A confidential questionnaire is available for anyone who thinks they may have been victimized by Vahey or who may have information about his predatory behavior.
Vahey traveled extensively over the past four decades, teaching at American schools in Nicaragua, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Iran, Spain, and Lebanon. His victims are multinational. In addition to foreign nationals, the schools were attended by the children of American diplomats, military personnel stationed overseas, and other American citizens working abroad.