Saturday, April 26, 2014

Responding to a viewer: Why publicize a child sex predator's alleged actions?

This week, I covered a man who allegedly sexually abused more than 90 children while he taught at numerous American schools in foreign countries. 

(Read/watch the story: platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player 

The allegations are heartbreaking. May of the victims may not know because court documents show William Vahey allegedly gave his victims sleeping pills before he took photos of himself molesting them.

The alleged actions may have started in the 1970s and could have continued until Vahey killed himself in March after learning he was under investigation.

Some viewers, including "hunterson" asked why we were making the story public and whether it could harm victims. Here is why we chose to publish the story.
Hmmm... the perp committed suicide. So why the big high profile push? Why stir this up further?

You aren't the only person who has asked this question. Let me try to answer.

Victims often have an intense desire to know what happened to their perpetrator. They want to understand why they were targeted. Often they want to attend court hearings to see justice be carried out. In this case, because Vahey killed himself, that's not possible.

In a court case, victims are given the opportunity to seek counseling through the victims compensation services offered by state or federal governments. Though Vahey is dead, victims can still seek such help in this case. Making them aware of this option is very important to the FBI and to me.

Because of the nature of these alleged actions (sleeping pills,) some people victimized may never know they are victims. Parents have a right to know their children may be victims. Sadly, without making this story public... there was no good way to reach such people.

You'll notice we did not publicize any victim's names. Many have courageously chosen to come forward and share their stories.

Lastly, this case may very well highlight problems in the "system" that would not be brought to people's attention without the case being made public.

With all that said, I'm open to further discussion. Thank you for letting me respond.