The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

May 13, 2014

Pedophile teacher abused dozens as clues missed

(Continued)

After a year, Vahey founded the "Travel Club," according to a 2012 article in Focus, a magazine for expatriates in London. The school's website describes a 13-day trip to Nepal in 2012 that included a trek in the Himalayas, white-water rafting and an elephant safari. In 2013, the spring break trip by students in grades six to nine was to Panama.

Southbank's chair of governors, Chris Woodhead, told Britain's Press Association there had been one complaint against Vahey. A boy on a trip felt sick, Woodhead said, and Vahey took the child into his room, apparently "to look after him."

"A few months later, a teacher heard gossiping on a minibus and the incident was investigated," Woodhead said. "The boy's parents agreed that there was nothing untoward and the matter shouldn't be pursued."

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When Vahey went on to the American Nicaraguan School with glowing references, his wife stayed in London.

In Nicaragua, Vahey taught ninth-grade world history and advanced geography in such an exciting way that students asked why other teachers couldn't do the same. He drew little notice from his neighbors until days before Thanksgiving.

That weekend, after Vahey's maid was fired for stealing, he stopped leaving the house, said Rafael, a caretaker who declined to give his last name because of the sensitivity of the topic. All Sunday, the house was dark. On Monday, school employees who let themselves in with a master key found Vahey motionless in his bed.

Two groups of emergency officials declared him dead and called the coroner. The school's director, Gloria Doll, sent teachers and parents a message saying Vahey "will be greatly missed, as he has truly been an integral part of our community."

But as a black body bag was being unloaded, Rafael said, a police officer or paramedic let out a shout. Vahey was alive.

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