A man who committed suicide in a southwestern Minnesota motel last month is suspected of molesting more than 90 boys, the FBI says.
The Bureau is asking for the public's help in identifying potential victims of William James Vahey, the Associated Press reports. Vahey was a teacher at an American school in Nicaragua at the time of his death.
Vahey's March 21st suicide came two days after agents applied for a warrant to search a computer thumb drive of his. The AP says the drive was found to contain pornographic images of at least 90 boys aged 12-14 whom the FBI suspects were drugged and molested by Vahey.
The FBI says Vahey, 64, had taught at schools in the U.S. and several other countries for four decades. In their statement asking for public help, the Bureau says Vahey confessed to an administrator at his Nicaraguan school that he'd preyed on boys his entire life – giving them sleeping pills and molesting them.
It's not entirely clear why Vahey came to Minnesota, but he may have relatives in the area. The AP found a notice in the bulletin of a Luverne church asking parishoners to pray for eternal rest for Bill Vahey, who was identified as the son of one parishoner and the brother of another.
The FBI says the suspected victims pictured on Vahey's thumb drive date back to 2008. But agents fear Vahey may have victimized many more children over the years. Some, the Bureau says, may not even realize they were abused.
The FBI says Vahey taught history, geography, and social studies to boys at schools in nine different countries, including the United Kingdom, Iran, Lebanon, Greece, Indonesia, and Venezuela.
Agents at the FBI's Houston office have taken the lead in the investigation because some have experience with crimes against children in Latin America.
Shauna Dunlap, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Houston Division tells the Beaumont Enterprise: "This is one of the most prolific and heinous suspected sexual predator cases we have ever seen. It appears he was able to perfect his craft in such a way these children were unable to know what happened to them and unable to report it."
The Enterprise says Vahey spent 90 days in a Sacramento, Calif., jail in 1969 on a molestation charge. He registered once as a sex offender in 1971, but never again after he began to work internationally, the newspaper says.
Houston television station KPRC reports the case against Vahey stems from a housekeeper he fired for stealing items from him. In March, the station says, she brought the thumb drive she admits stealing to administrators at the school in Managua where Vahey was teaching to show them its contents.
In its search for victims the FBI has made a confidential online questionnaire available. The Bureau says information provided through it may help its investigation and lead to assistance for the victims.