405-778-4800
Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT LAW
This Attorney is Lead Counsel Rated. Click here for more Information.

Trial Begins for Edmond Missionary Accused of Raping Children in a Kenyan Orphanage

12-Jun-2015

Matthew Lane Durham was just 19 years old when he went to his fourth mission trip to an orphanage in Kenya. Federal prosecutors say it was during that visit last summer that Durham sexually assaulted and raped eight children, aged 5 to 14, at the Upendo Children's Home in Nyeri, Kenya.

The Edmond man was charged with eight counts each of aggravated sexual abuse of children and engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places and one count of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. His trial began this week in United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City.

A key piece of evidence for the prosecution is a signed confession in which Durham wrote, "I would take her to the bathroom at night and would hold her down and rape her," in detailing the alleged sexual assaults. Prosecutors also say the defendant sent text messages to a friend in the United States saying he was possessed by a demon named Luke, and that despite his prayers, "every night luke gets what luke wants."

The defense argues that the prosecution's case hinges on a false confession that was coerced by orphanage officials after they isolated him and confiscated his passport. The defense lawyer says that Durham did not confess out of shame and guilt, but rather out of fear, calling his client "an emotionally vulnerable teenager" who was "scared to death."

Witnesses for the prosecution include the children whom Durham is alleged to have assaulted. They are testifying in a cleared courtroom. Also testifying for the United States government are Josphine Wambugu, the orphanage manager, and Eunice Menja, director of Upendo Kids International.

Wambugu testified that the allegations against Durham came to light when she walked in on Durham sleeping in the girls' dormitory. She says he "quickly left" after being discovered there. She told the court that she asked the girls what had happened, and several said he did "bad manners" with them.

She said that Durham privately confessed to her the next day. However, orphanage officials did not report the allegations to police for five days. When the defense team questioned the delay, Wambugu told the court that they were "busy" the next day, and that since no sexual activity was believed to have occurred the night she allegedly walked in on Durham in the girls' dormitory, it did not matter how quickly the alleged victims were taken to the hospital for evaluation.

Menja, whose testimony is not yet complete as of this writing, said that the delay in reporting the allegations to authorities came because "it was going to draw a lot of attention," and she was embarrassed by the allegations.

If Durham is convicted, he faces up to life in prison for aggravated sexual abuse of a child and up to 30 years in prison each for travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places.



All News

More News

Teen Who Urged Boyfriend to Commit Suicide Convicted of Manslaughter
19-Jun-2017

In July 2014, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III attempted to take his own..

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Warrantless Cell Phone Location Search Violates Fourth Amendment
12-Jun-2017

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that cou..

Man Sentenced to 4 Years in Stabbing Death of Roommate
09-Jun-2017

A 72-year-old man is ordered to spend four years in prison after s..

Trial Delayed for Second Brother in Broken Arrow Quintuple Murder
29-May-2017

Shortly before midnight on July 22, 2015, police in Broken Arrow r..

Criminal Appeals Court Upholds Death Sentence for Triple-Murderer
26-May-2017

For the second time, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has af..

Poorly written bill leaves lawsuit loophole; Governor signs anyway
22-May-2017

When drafting legislation, it is imperative that language is clear..

Not Guilty Verdict in Tulsa Police Shooting; Officer's Job Status under Evaluation
19-May-2017

After nine hours of deliberation, a jury returned a verdict o..

Man Exonerated in Rape Case Awarded Compensation
15-May-2017

An Oklahoma man who was exonerated of rape after spending 13 years..

Trial Begins in Tulsa Police Shooting Case
08-May-2017

Jury selection begins today in the manslaughter case of Tulsa poli..

Oklahoma Death Penalty Remains on Hiatus
05-May-2017

It has been almost exactly three years since the botched execution..

×