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FBI investigates suspected serial child molester

FBI Seeking Information About Alleged Child Molester
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The FBI asked for the public's help Tuesday to identify at least 90 potential victims of a suspected child predator who worked at 10 American and other international schools abroad for more than four decades before committing suicide last month in Minnesota.

William James Vahey, 64, killed himself in Luverne on March 21, the FBI said. That was two days after agents in Houston filed for a warrant to search a computer thumb drive that belonged to Vahey, a U.S. citizen with residences in London and Hilton Head Island, S.C. An employee of the American Nicaraguan School in Managua, where Vahey had recently taught ninth-grade world history and geography, gave the drive to the U.S. Embassy there.

The storage device contained pornographic images of at least 90 boys, ages 12 to 14, who appeared to be drugged and unconscious, the FBI said. The agency's spokeswoman in Houston, Special Agent Shauna Dunlap, told The Associated Press that investigators suspect all of the boys in the images were students of Vahey's, going back to 2008, and that he had molested all of them.

"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 posted prominently on the FBI's website,www.fbi.gov , with links for potential victims.

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 of Houston said in the statement. "I've never seen another case where an individual may have molested this many children over such a long period of time."

The director general of the American Nicaraguan School, Gloria Doll, said by phone from Managua that Vahey was "famous for wanting to lead student experience trips." She said that's why several of his previous schools hired him.

Doll said that, as far as she knew, none of her students had been molested. Vahey started teaching at her school last August but had not led any trips for her school before the allegations surfaced. She said he had been due to take a group to a model United Nations event in the Dominican Republic the very next day.

"We realized we had probably been spared what was happening," Doll said.

Doll said Vahey's flash drive had been taken by his domestic employee, who returned it to the school and urged officials to take a look.

The FBI said Vahey was jailed for child molestation in California in 1969, but Doll said his arrest didn't turn up when the Nicaraguan school checked his criminal background. She said he came highly recommended and had been "probably one of the finest teachers" at her school.

Vahey's career included posts at the Tehran American School in Iran from 1972-73; the American Community School of Beirut in Lebanon, 1973-75; the American School of Madrid in Spain, 1975-76; the Passargad School in Ahwaz, Iran, 1976-78; the American Community School in Athens, Greece, 1978-80; the Saudi Aramco Schools in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, 1980-92; the Jakarta International School in Indonesia, 1992-2002; the Escuela Campo Alegre in Caracas, Venezuela, 2002-09; and the Southbank International School in London, 2009-2013. He coached boys basketball at several schools, the FBI said.

Such schools typically serve a mix of students from those countries, as well as the children of U.S. diplomats, military personnel and other American citizens working abroad, and the FBI said it believes his victims are multinational.

The FBI is concerned that some victims might not even know they were abused.

"He had access to children because of his position of trust," Fransen said. "He created a system that gave him the opportunity and the means to molest children. The manner in which he committed these acts - while the boys were unconscious - may have inhibited them from knowing what happened, making it impossible for them to come forward at the time of the molestation."

The FBI's Houston office is leading the investigation because its squad for crimes against children often goes to Latin America to assist with investigations, Dunlap said. Vahey's death didn't stop the investigation because the FBI is obligated to reach out to the potential victims, she said.

FBI officials declined to say why they believe Vahey went to Luverne, a town of about 4,700 people about 160 miles southwest of Minneapolis, where he killed himself at a motel. The FBI spokesman in Minneapolis, Special Agent Kyle Loven, said it was "plausible" that he had relatives there. Vahey is not known to have taught anywhere in Minnesota, he said.

A notice in the bulletin for St. Catherine's Catholic Church in Luverne for March 29-30 asked parishioners to "pray for eternal rest for Bill Vahey," who was identified as the son of one parishioner and brother of another. They did not have working listed phone numbers. The notice said his funeral Mass was scheduled for "his home parish in South Carolina." The St. Catherine's parish administrator said she couldn't comment on whether the notice referred to the same William Vahey who committed suicide in Luverne.

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vrf19977 April 23 2014 at 11:22 AM

Poor boys... I pray anyone who was hurt by this monster gets the help they need. And I'm glad he's dead; sad to say, but it's true.

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sgod1100 April 23 2014 at 12:06 PM

I hope he is rotting in hell as i type this....the absolute SCUM of the earth

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1 reply
weakmindedgod sgod1100 April 23 2014 at 12:19 PM

makes me wonder if one has no need for a body in death, how can a soul rot in hell?

then again, being that child molesting isn't in the ten commandments, why would this person be punished in hell to begin with? As a matter of fact rape in general isn't in the ten commandments, but technically loving thy neighbor can be exactly what this man did!

So technically all rapist are following gawds will right?

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3 replies
Sam & Ella April 23 2014 at 12:29 PM

Too bad he took care of himself before one of his victims or their parents could do it for him. I am sure it would have been a lot more painful and a lot less merciful! SICK, SICK, SICK is the person who can look at a child with lust!!!

The notice from the church asking for parishioners to "pray for eternal rest for Bill Vahey"...?? All I can say is that I will be praying for just the opposite...ROT IN HELL you despicable, deplorable, disgusting piece of pond scum!

There is no worse crime than the one perpetrated against an innocent, helpless child!

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1 reply
weakmindedgod Sam & Ella April 23 2014 at 12:32 PM

and yet it isn't in the ten commandments of thou shall not rape children... Go figure that christians are the biggest offenders of child molestation in the United States. Go figure that one..

So much for the morality thing huh?

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3 replies
usapaydirt April 23 2014 at 8:22 AM

Given the fact he is now dead, it's obvious the case is closed. Now they need to send any pictures he had to the grave with him, so no one continues to be hurt by him even from the grave. Attempting to contact victims to let them know what they didn't know, would at this point be as bad as the crime itself ...

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1 reply
Kathy usapaydirt April 23 2014 at 8:40 AM

I don't agree with you USA. These victims, in my opinion, know something is wrong with them. They "know" that they are different from all other people and have gone decades trying to figure out what it is. Even if you are drugged, you have SOME thoughts.....either conscious or unconscious that something bad happened to you...... the thoughts are terrible to put up with your entire life...... sort of like a parnet who is "pretty sure" their child is dead..... but with no body, it is hard to have closure in the deep crevices in the mind. Remeber the mind/brain has tremendous powers that we have barely scatched the surface on....

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frankdlu April 23 2014 at 9:24 AM

YES.....TOO BAD HE DIDN'T DO IT EARLIER THE COWARD....BUT IF THEY DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE MOLESTATIONS....HOW WILL THEY COME FORWARD....???? THIS NOW IS A TOTAL WASTE OF RESOURCES....DON'T HUMILIATE THEM NOW....THE ONLY SHINING LIGHT WAS THAT HE DIDN'T KILL THESE KIDS LIKE THE OTHER PERVERTS DID....DAMN HIS SOUL TO HELL...

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1 reply
Gracie GirL frankdlu April 23 2014 at 10:05 AM

Thank God these kids have no memory of what this sicko did and hopefully never do. The damage emotionally is devastating and lasts a life time for most.

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SQUEELAWHEELA April 23 2014 at 7:42 PM

The government asks for our help in finding more victims and the molesters, how bout just letting the public deal with them in the 1st place. We will let them prove they are guilty, and then hand them over to us, the people of the public. I can tell you his or her death will be swift, but I can also tell you we will still be kicking his head in long after he he or she is dead. I bet once the perverts of this world find out what their punishment is they will never touch another ever.

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1 reply
matilda524 SQUEELAWHEELA April 24 2014 at 2:20 PM

How did you all feel about the Republican nominee for Governor of Texas campaigning with a draft dodging, poopy pants, serial pedophile with 6 kids by 5 women. Who was on FOX lecturing about the breakdown of the American family!! You couldnt make it up.

Yet the candidate CAMPAIGNED with him and I didn't see a single conserative speak against it.

And you can go ahead and start talking about Woody Allen or Roman Polanski like they are big pals of every democrat in the country. No democrat has EVER campaigned with a scumbag pedophile.

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hark4109 April 23 2014 at 7:51 AM

He saved the courts a bunch of dough, what a scumbag!

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Gayle April 23 2014 at 7:49 AM

Thank heaven he committed suicide and we don't have to hear constantly about his trial and all his excuses about being an abused child himself (a common defense) with a light jail sentence in the end.

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1 reply
patriot1too Gayle April 23 2014 at 8:03 AM

And they want to get married??? No way. They would just double team to get at kids.

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memory5106 April 23 2014 at 7:48 AM

Castration is the only answer.

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1 reply
WatergirlHawaii memory5106 April 23 2014 at 2:05 PM

Castration doesn't work, but it's a very good start (IMHO)

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Pat April 23 2014 at 12:41 PM

He sure did move around a lot. Maybe he was caught and just moved along. Scum bag. Coward.

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1 reply
WatergirlHawaii Pat April 23 2014 at 2:54 PM

This profession allows one to experience the world firsthand, and most do so honorably while cherishing the privilege. It is very sad unfortunate and upsetting that he used his position to abuse innocents.

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