ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – A British teacher is facing up to six months in jail after being convicted of defamation for comments she made in exposing pedophiles at a children's charity in Ethiopia 10 years ago.
Jill Campbell and her husband Gary Campbell compiled evidence in 1999 that helped convict the director of an Ethiopian orphanage run by the Swiss charity Terre Des Hommes-Lausanne. The charity acknowledged the abuse took place, but brought a successful defamation case against the Campbells for their claims that the charity's senior staff covered up the scandal.
Jill Campbell will be sentenced Friday.
"We asked them to stop defaming us and they said no," said Colin Tucker, child protection manager for Terre Des Hommes in Switzerland. "Then the court asked them to stop defaming us and she said no again."
The Campbells, who have lived in Ethiopia for more than a decade, have drawn wide support in Ethiopia. A group formed to support them, Stop Institutional Pedophilia in Ethiopia, said the charity is "forcing Gary and Jill to apologize for blowing the whistle and stopping the chain of homosexual abusers victimizing orphans."
Gary Campbell issued a public apology for the comments last month, then said he did so only because nobody would be able to care for the couple's children if they both went to jail.
The abuse scandal prompted the charity to apologize and leave Ethiopia. In 2003, an Ethiopian court sentenced orphanage director David Christie to nine years of hard labor for abusing several young boys.
The Campbell's report included testimony from several young boys at the orphanage, including one who said he had been at the orphanage run by TdH in the northeastern town of Jari.
"I thought I was lucky to have been chosen to sleep with this man, I was a vulnerable young boy with no knowledge of the world that existed outside Jari," the boy, who went by the initial G., says in the report. "I trusted white men who had, on the surface, appeared to make Jari a good place to live in."