405-778-4800
Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT LAW

Missionary Accused of Sex Crimes Faces More Charges

30-Jan-2015

Last summer, an Oklahoma man was accused of unthinkable acts against children. Matthew Lane Durham, then 19, was alleged to have raped and sexually abused children at an orphanage in Kenya while serving as a missionary.

In July, a federal grand jury unsealed an indictment against Durham, charging him with traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors. Initially, Durham was charged with three criminal counts involving the alleged sex crimes. Now, however, the defendant is charged with additional counts related to the alleged sexual abuse of multiple children.

Durham is now charged with 24 criminal counts involving 8 children:

  • 8 counts of aggravated sexual abuse with children
  • 8 counts of traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct
  • 8 counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places

Durham was on his fourth mission trip as a volunteer with the Upendo Children's Home in Nairobi, Kenya, when allegations of sexual abuse of children surfaced. Durham was questioned by administrators at the orphanage. He allegedly confessed to raping and sexually abusing children of both sexes, ranging in age from 5 to 15 years old. Investigators say Durham said he was plagued by a demon that caused him to abuse the children. 

Prosecutors have evidence purported to be text messages between Durham and a friend in which the defendant says he is "powerless" against the "demon" he calls Luke:

“How can I not hate this thing inside of me? It takes me at night, and I am powerless over what Luke wants . . . Yes I named him, I know how crazy that is. He whispers in my ear all day, and he’s so hard to resist. . . . Literally he takes me at night and there is nothing I can do to stop him. I’m asleep, what can I do? You honestly have no idea… I’ve prayed so much, but every night Luke gets what Luke wants."

Despite his alleged confession, Durham has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges against him. His defense team argues that his "confession" was coerced through unethical tactics by the orphanage administrators in Kenya. They say that in questioning Durham about the allegations, they kept him in isolation and confiscated his passport.

Traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places are often referred to as "sex tourism." They are prohibited under federal law by 18 U.S. Code § 2423, and each offense is punishable by a maximum of 30 years in prison.

Aggravated sexual abuse with children is a federal sex crime under 18 U.S. Code § 2241(C):

"Whoever crosses a State line with intent to engage in a sexual act with a person who has not attained the age of 12 years, or in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison, or in any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract or agreement with the head of any Federal department or agency, knowingly engages in a sexual act with another person who has not attained the age of 12 years, or knowingly engages in a sexual act under the circumstances described in subsections (a) and (b) with another person who has attained the age of 12 years but has not attained the age of 16 years (and is at least 4 years younger than the person so engaging), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title and imprisoned for not less than 30 years or for life. "

If convicted of the charges against him, Durham faces the possibility of life in prison.



All News

More News

Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections Denies Death Penalty Protocol "Deadline"

13-Aug-2018

Oklahoma, the state that invented lethal injection, continues to b..

Lincoln County Abuse Case Has Some Calling for Home School Reform

28-Jul-2018

The case of a 15-year-old boy rescued from a family farm near Meek..

Oklahoma Health Department Seeks Legal Advice after Amending Medical Marijuana Rules

17-Jul-2018

When Oklahomans passed State Question 788 last month, they left th..

No Special Session Necessary after Passage of Medical Marijuana in SQ 788

30-Jun-2018

Just a week and a half after announcing that a special session of ..

New Oklahoma Liquor Laws to Take Effect in October

14-Jun-2018

It's summertime in Oklahoma. The temperatures are soaring and peop..

Charges Dismissed After Linebacker's Ex-Girlfriend Admits to Lying About Abuse

23-May-2018

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster will be able to rejoi..

Oklahoma Man Convicted of Cyberstalking in Federal Court

02-May-2018

A 46-year old Crescent man was convicted in federal court last wee..

Oklahoma Legislators Continue to Eye Criminal Justice Reform

22-Apr-2018

With Oklahoma prisons overcrowded, and with the state at the top o..

Oklahoma Soon to Lead the Nation in Incarceration Rate

02-Apr-2018

As Oklahoma teachers descend upon the state Capitol this week to p..

Domestic Call Ends in Multiple Charges for Man Accused in Standoff

19-Mar-2018

Nicoma Park police and Oklahoma County sheriff's deputies respondi..

×