Police are calling William Vahey the most "prolific" pedophile of all time, and it's easy to see why. The former teacher, who worked with children all over the world, is suspected of having sexually molested hundreds of children during his career. Yes, you read that right -- hundreds. Before committing suicide in 1969, the man taught at 10 schools on 4 continents. He educated the children of diplomats and wealthy families. And he was adored by many of his young male students, who looked up to him and trusted him.
Vahey kept a stellar reputation among these elite families for nearly 4 decades -- until his maid in Nicaragua uncovered about 90 photos he'd taken of young boys that served as strong evidence that he had molested them.
The photos show boys who appeared to be unconscious, performing oral sex on one another or sitting naked with a man's hand on their genitals. Apparently, cops underestimated the number of victims Vahey had because, after news of the photos surfaced, several hundred former students or witnesses have contacted the FBI to share their stories about the man.
Vahey often accompanied these boys on overnight school trips where he, reportedly, fed them milk and cookies before bedtime. Sounds sweet until you discover the man reportedly laced the cookies with sleeping pills and then molested these children while they were drugged. I guess it's important to remember this took place during a different time, before so many similar stories have surfaced that would make parents think twice about overnight trips.
One of the biggest problems in this case is that many of his students -- and their parents -- have no way of knowing for sure whether they were abused. They remember eating the cookies he lovingly provided, but don't recall what happened after that.
As a parent, the thing that would make me most livid is finding out that Vahey could have been stopped -- that a few of the people who employed him to work with children knew about some of his lascivious acts and gave him a job anyway. He was convicted of sex abuse in California. He was arrested in 1969 on sexual abuse charges and admitted he pinched the penises of 8 boys while giving them swimming lessons. He even gave an excuse for his behavior: he said he was abused as a child and couldn't help himself.
Remind me again why he was allowed to work with children?
Perhaps the worst part of this, aside from the fact that so many of his former students will always wonder if they were victims of his abuse, is that he stabbed himself to death shortly after his maid turned over the photos he had taken. He will never have to serve time to make up for all of the lives he destroyed while he was entrusted to teach and care for them.
The FBI is still asking for help in identifying Vahey's victims.
Why do you think Vahey was able to get away with his abusive behavior for so many years?
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