At a July 20, 2016, ceremony in Northern Virginia, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent (SA) Marielle Schultz of the HSI Pretoria office received the 2016 Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) Julie Y. Cross Award – International for her work on a lengthy child exploitation investigation in the African country of Malawi.
Following up on a tip-line call alleging child exploitation and sexual abuse by Gerard Campbell, the general manager and head minister of a Christian orphanage operating in Malawi, SA Schultz conducted dozens of in-depth interviews and obtained and executed a search warrant that recovered key evidence and crucial statements from witnesses and victims. Her pursuit of justice included difficult travel to remote areas of Africa as she sought to locate other possible victims, many of whom are now adults.
Regional Attaché Steve Martin remarked that the case “is extraordinary in its complexity and a tremendous success against all odds in a foreign country many years after events took place. Special Agent Schultz showed dedication and perseverance in the face of significant political pressure and legal obstacles” in pursuing justice for the victims, who were all between 8 and 18 years old when the abuses occurred.
In October 2015, SA Schultz provided testimony before a Grand Jury in Midland, Texas, securing an indictment and arresting Campbell, who admitted to sexually abusing 11 orphans over a 13-year period, as well as providing money or other materials to two of the victims in exchange for their silence regarding his crimes.
Schultz, one of the agency’s attaché office representatives in Pretoria, South Africa, said she grew up wanting to pursue a career in law enforcement.
While attending graduate school at Wichita State University, SA Schultz began her law enforcement career with the Wichita Police Department. She served as a police officer for four years before earning a promotion to the rank of detective in the department’s Exploited and Missing Children's Unit (EMCU), where she discovered her passion for combating child exploitation.