A former missionary from Oklahoma was sentenced in U.S. federal court on Monday to 40 years in prison for sexually molesting children at a Kenyan orphanage.
Matthew Lane Durham, 21, was accused of molesting eight children at the Upendo Children’s Home in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi in 2014. Durham, of Edmond, Oklahoma, claimed he did not molest the children, but during a preliminary hearing prosecutors said Durham told Upendo personnel that he thought he had been possessed by an “evil spirit” because he did not remember committing the crimes.
A live-in caretaker at the orphanage said that the children said Durham either touched them sexually or told them to touch themselves while he watched, prosecutors said during the same preliminary hearing. When confronted by the founder of Upendo and several church members, Durham is alleged to have confessed to several instances of rape and sexual abuse of children, according to a criminal affidavit.
Last June, a federal jury found Durham guilty on seven counts including engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places. However, in January U.S. District Judge David Russell acquitted him on three of the counts because the judge felt the prosecutors had failed to establish Durham engaged in a sexual act with the victim alleged in those counts. Read more