An Oklahoma missionary to Kenya has been jailed for 40 years for raping children at an orphanage in Kenya.
21-year-old Matthew Lane Durham, was sentenced by Judge David L. Russell on four counts of “engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places,” according to court documents.
“In a span of just 33 days,” prosecutors wrote to the court, Durham “raped three girls — ages 5, 9 and 15 — at least eight times. During that same time period, he sexually molested a 12-year-old boy twice.”
The prosecutors said that Durham “not only forcefully sexually abused these children,” but “he psychologically damaged them by taking advantage of their trust he received from the children.”
Matthew Lane Durham arrived at Upendo Children’s Centre in 2014 to volunteer with neglected children, according to the criminal complaint. Durham had previously volunteered at the school three times before.
The organization, funded by an American citizen, recruits volunteers from the Oklahoma church community and provides food, housing and clothes to neglected children in Nairobi, according to the complaint.
Upon arriving in 2014, Durham requested to stay at an “overflow bunk” in the school rather than an off-site facilities with sponsor families to be in a “better position to assist the children,” the complaint says.
A school caretaker began to notice odd behavior between Durham and the children, including “lingering embraces” and “lying beside some of the children on their beds” at night, the complaint says.
Durham was confronted by leaders at the school who then held his passport, the complaint says. They returned the passport to him days later, and he flew back to Oklahoma.
At the time of his arrest, Durham’s attorney told CNN that Durham was coerced into a confession to get his passport back.
Evidence produced by prosecutors included handwritten, signed confessions that Durham gave orphanage officials after he was accused of inappropriate behavior.