Southbank International School, London has confirmed that pupils of the school were victims of abuse by William Vahey who taught at the school between 2009 & 2013.
Vahey was found dead last month following an FBI investigation which revealed that Vahey, a US citizen, preyed on up to 90 boys at different schools he worked at around the world. Images of up to 90 boys were found on his computer. Before his death Vahey was confronted about images found by a colleague at the America Nicaraguan School and admitted to preying on boys all his adult life, usually providing them with sleeping pills before abusing them.
The Chair of Governors at Southbank international School, Sir Chris Woodhead has said that the matter was the “worst thing that I’ve ever been involved in 40 years of education.”
The School is currently working with the FBI to identify which of the children in the images were from the school. Victims and parents will be contacted and the chair of governors has confirmed that social workers will be involved to provide support to the identified victims and parents. The investigation is on-going.
Vahey had a previous conviction for a child sex offence in California in 1969 however despite checks being carried out on Vahey the school failed to pick up the previous conviction. This shocking case supports the need for Mandatory Reporting of suspected child abuse to be introduced. Currently people working in institutions including schools, hospitals and children’s homes, who know about children being abused are not required by law to report this to the police.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers have been campaigning for a change in the law to introduce mandatory reporting, which we hope will better protect children from abuse in the future.
We are pleased that support is being offered to victims and parents. Slater and Gordon Lawyers are currently representing victims of abuse at several fee paying schools including St Pauls School, Colet Court, Ashdown House and others.
Our specialist team of sexual and physical Abuse Lawyers have considerable experience in dealing with these often complex cases, and understand the difficulties that both victims and their families are faced with.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of abuse either at a school or anywhere else, and you would like expert legal advice free of charge, please call our Abuse Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help. Any communication will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.
Jessica Standley is a Personal Injury Solicitor specialising in Abuse Claims at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.
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