A teen missionary is accused of traveling to Kenya for volunteer work, and having sex with victims between the ages of 4 to 9 years old, one of which was HIV positive, federal prosecutors announced Monday (July 21). Matthew Lane Durham, of Edmond, Okla., traveled to the East African country to work in a home for orphans and impoverished children.
According to a federal complaint, Durham engaged in sex at the Upendo Children’s Home between the months of April and June of this year. Prior to his visit this year, Durham volunteered at Upendo in June 2012, as well as June and December 2013.
Court records state that during his last visit Durham requested to stay in the bunk with the children, rather than the home of a sponsor. He alleged that he would be better able to help the children by staying with them.
A caretaker noticed Durham’s “odd” behavior with the children, such as “lingering hugs” and laying in bed with them. Several of the children said that Durham had been touching them inappropriately.
Once the facility co-founder learned of Durham’s sex acts she removed him from the facility, and held his passport. When confronted he denied the allegations, and later admitted to performing sex acts on the children, watching them touch themselves, and having intercourse with some of them.
A portion of Durham’s confession had to be handwritten because the details were so graphic, the facility’s founder could no longer record them. Durham said that he had been struggling with his sexuality and addiction to child porn. “Any time I try to read the Bible and pray, this image comes to my head,” he said.
Durham was eventually allowed on a plane and back to the states. The U.S. Embassy notified the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Criminal Investigative Office of his actions, leading to an investigation.
Durham faces life in prison.