UK & World News
Paedophile Teacher 'Groomed Parents Too'
A mother whose children were taught by a paedophile who abused dozens of pupils at a London school has told Sky News he "groomed" parents to think he was a "hero".
William James Vahey, who taught history and geography at Southbank International School between 2009 and 2013, killed himself as investigators began to uncover his crimes.
Caroline Corey's two children were taught by Vahey at the American International School in Caracas, Venezuela.
She said: "He groomed the parents as well as the kids to trust him.
"When my son called the other day, he said 'I just can't believe Mr Vahey did this - he was my favourite teacher.'"
Mrs Corey's children went on trips abroad with Vahey.
"Thankfully, neither were abused," she added. "I do recall a number of boys got sick on the trip and Mr Vahey was the hero taking care of them."
Vahey's crimes were uncovered after a maid stole a USB stick from his house containing images of his victims.
Southbank International School executive principal Graham Lacey said images of between 50 and 60 pupils were found on the 64-year-old's computer.
Because he drugged some of his victims, many might not even know they were abused.
A former pupil of Vahey in Venezuela, Miriam Pjaaka Svendsen, told Sky News: "He seemed like a very nice, sweet and caring man.
"I could never have expected a teacher or a man like him could do these acts to young boys."
Sky News has obtained an FBI affidavit which reveals the extent of the abuse.
The document explains how Vahey reported a theft from his apartment in Nicaragua in 2013.
His maid was dismissed, but handed a memory stick she stole to the American Nicaraguan School in Managua, Nicaragua.
The images it contained "depict minor males in various states of undress" who "appear to be asleep, unconscious or possibly drugged".
Staff at the Nicaraguan school confronted Vahey. He told them he was molested as a child and had preyed on boys all his life, plying them with sleeping pills before abusing them.
After learning of the crimes, London's Southbank International School wrote to parents urging any pupils with disturbing experiences to come forward.
The school was closed on Friday. Counselling is being offered and a meeting for parents will be held next week.
"As a staff we feel upset, angry and betrayed," Mr Lacey wrote. "We can only imagine what you as parents must feel."
Vahey, an American national, killed himself in a Minnesota motel two days after the FBI filed the warrant to search a computer drive containing photos of at least 90 boys aged from 12 to 14.
He was convicted of a child sex offence in California in 1969 but appears to have failed to sign the sex offenders' register.
Checks were made on Vahey when he joined Southbank International School, but these revealed nothing untoward.
Three references the school obtained were "outstanding" and "specifically stated that there were no safeguarding issues".
One incident was investigated by school management, but both the parents and the child did not want to pursue it, the school's chair of governors, Sir Chris Woodhead, said.