The Daily Mail Online
- William Vahey, 64, allegedly abused up to 60 boys at leading private school
- Once he embraced his pupils, he was taken to the airport in a school van
- Pictures emerged showing him abusing pupils on trips from 2009-2013
- At the time he was a teacher at Southbank International School in London
- Last night former pupils spoke of their shock at the revelations
A paedophile teacher who abused children at a leading private school was allowed to hug his children goodbye after his vile acts were exposed.
William Vahey, who allegedly targeted around 60 boys, has also been labelled one of the most prolific sex offenders of all time by the FBI.
While working at schools around the world, the 64-year-old was said to have held a ‘cookie race’ at bedtime in which children as young as ten were encouraged to eat as many as they could, unaware they had been drugged. Once the pupils passed out, some were assaulted.
Predator: William Vahey, pictured with his wife Jean
After the teacher embraced the pupils, he was then driven to the airport in a school van, according to The Sun.
The revelations did not come as a surprise to a former pupil known as Jonathan, who said there was something ‘not right’ about Vahey frrom the start.
He told The Guardian: ‘I had my suspicions from the beginning. There was something a bit off about him.
‘Other people would say he was their favourite teacher but I would say there was something not right.’
The schoolboy said Vahey promoted a ‘travel club’ where he tried to organise trips abroad.
Boys would stay in hotel rooms in groups of three or four and Vahey would ‘tickle’ them before they went to sleep.
The extent of his crimes around the world were revealed in an FBI affidavit. The American agency is leading the investigation into the historic abuse claims.
Special Agent Shauna Dunlap told Sky News: ‘Without a doubt, this is certainly one of the most prolific suspected sexual predators that we’ve seen, given the numbers of children, potential victims, his position of trust, and so forth.
‘And some of the allegations and the methods that are being alleged that he may have employed while committing these crimes.’
Laced with sleeping pills: Vahey would sprinkle crushed sedatives into American snacks Oreos and feed them to his pupils
Ms Dunlap added the FBI would not ‘stop seeking justice’ because Vahey is dead.
The revelations prompted ‘complete shock’ in Natalie Salmon, 23, who was at a school where the paedophile teacher worked in Venezuela.
She said: ‘It’s so sad, and it’s the first time where I’ve thought to myself as a girl I am safer than being a boy.’
Miss Salmon said she remembered Vahey as being a ‘nice, shy sort of guy’, but that her male friends from school now refuse to even speak about the possibility they were his victims.
FBI investigators said more than 100 potential victims had come forward since news broke yesterday that the married American had taken pictures of himself attacking up to 60 sleeping students from the elite Southbank International School in Westminster during class trips abroad between 2009 and 2013.
The sickening images depicted children aged ten to 14 at the international school, where he taught history and geography and led trips to Jordan, Nepal and Venezuela.
Another 30 children, who also appeared to be unconscious or asleep when the assaults took place, were pictured from other schools he worked in during a 40-year career spent teaching at ten American international schools in nine countries.
Southbank International School, which is favoured by diplomats and foreign executives, has 758 pupils and charges fees of £25,000 a year.
Vahey committed suicide at a motel in the US last month as the FBI were poised to investigate a USB memory stick containing the graphic images of naked children dating back to 2008.
The father of two plunged a knife into his chest two days after confessing that he had abused boys throughout his life using sleeping pills.
Investigation: The FBI released the following pictures of Vahey as they appealed for evidence
Police later removed items from his £1.8million apartment in Maida Vale, west London, where he is alleged to have kept large amounts of sleeping pills.
Miss Salmon, now a broadcast journalism student in London, was 11 when she enrolled at the elite English-language international school Escuela Campo Alegre in Caracas where her father was working for oil giant Halliburton.
She told Sky News the revelations about the popular American history and geography teacher had come as a ‘complete shock’.
A former student taught by Vahey at the Jakarta International School in Indonesia in the 1990s, who did not want to be named, told the Mail she could not reconcile the ‘great teacher’ with the predatory monster now revealed.
Yesterday a British mother of two, whose teenage sons went on several school trips with Vahey, said he used to hand out Oreo cookies and tell pupils that they could be the lead character in his bedtime story if they won the cookie race.
The mother, who did not wish to be identified, said he ‘groomed’ pupils and parents: ‘The boys would sit around and were handed Oreos. He would tell them to go and he would drop his hand to start the race.
‘Then the first one who had the Oreo, the higher up they would be in the story and so on. He would have been able to split the Oreos apart, ground up the stuff and sprinkle it in the middle.’
The mother was once a friend of Vahey and his wife Jean, 66, who is the executive director of the European Council of International Schools.
An FBI affidavit obtained by the Daily Mail showed how he catalogued the abuse by time and location in folders on a USB memory stick entitled ‘Panama trip’, ‘Costa Rica trip’ and ‘Basketball trip’ and ‘Spring 2013’.
The document says: ‘These images depict minor males in various states of undress… The minor males appear to be asleep, unconscious or possibly drugged.’
Vahey, who left Southbank International last year, was only caught after a housekeeper at a school he moved to in Nicaragua stole a memory stick containing the vile images.
She was sacked but later passed the USB stick to administrators at the American School in Managua, who dismissed Vahey after recognising his hand in the images.
Prestigious: Vahey taught at the £25,000-a-year Southbank International School until last year
In 1970, while studying for a teaching degree, Vahey was jailed for 90 days after pleading guilty to molesting boys at a swimming pool where he was working as an instructor in California.
He was required to register as a sex offender for life, but after graduating from college in 1972 failed to sign the register.
In 2010 an inspection report had warned of a weakness in staff vetting measures at Southbank International, but Sir Chris Woodhead, chairman of the governors said yesterday that it was ‘irrelevant’ in Vahey’s case as he was not on the sex offender’s register.
Sir Chris said there had never been a complaint against Vahey, although there was one incident where a boy was ill on a trip and Vahey took the boy into his room to look after him.
A school investigation subsequently found ‘nothing untoward’.