By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A Texas man who managed an orphanage in Malawi pleaded guilty in a U.S. court on Wednesday to sexually abusing children in his care and giving some of them money to keep them quiet about the abuse, U.S. prosecutors said.
Gerald Campbell, 66, of Odessa could face up to life in prison, according to papers filed in federal court in Texas. No date has been set for his sentencing.
Campbell admitted to sexually abusing the children when he was managing the Victory Christian Children's Home orphanage in the southern African country between 1997 and 2009, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas said in a statement.
An attorney for Campbell was not immediately available for comment.
A U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent said in an affidavit presented in court that: "Campbell also admitted he was wrong and knew he was 'in charge' at this orphanage; he also explained he could 'buy' his way out of it."
The affidavit said Campbell admitted that he gave money and things of value to two of the children to keep them from disclosing the abuse.
Among the victims were at least five boys thought to have been sexually abused by Campbell, the affidavit said.
He told U.S. investigators he lured children, including one infected with HIV, into his home to sexually abuse them. The home had more amenities than the orphanage, and he used that to entice a few of the children to live with him for several months, it said.
He was indicted by a grand jury in October 2015 after an investigation by U.S. authorities.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler)