Mathew Lane Durham, a 19 year old Oklahoma “missionary,” was recently indicted by a Grand Jury on three felony criminal charges.
“Count 1 alleges that Durham traveled from Will Rogers World Airport to Nairobi, Kenya, for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with persons under 18 years of age; Count 2 alleges that Durham engaged in illicit sexual conduct with several minors under 18 years of age; and Count 3 alleges aggravated sexual abuse when he crossed a state line with intent to engage in a sexual act with a child under 12 years of age. “
according to the United States Department of Justice website.
Durham was working with a program called Upendo Kids International, which sends American “missionaries” to work with orphaned and disadvantaged African children. According to Upendo’s website, $2900 “opens doors for all missionaries who are called to serve in Kenya”. It apparently also opens the door to sleeping in the “overflow bunks” at the Upendo Children’s Home. At least it did for Durham.
Durham wrote an 11 page confession, in which he details sexual abuse of at least ten children, who were between the ages of 4 and 10 years. In many instances he was able to escort them to the bathroom alone, where he admittedly carried out child rape on at least three children. He was also able to help them change clothing, watch them undress, take a little girl swimming without a top and even ‘spoon’ with one child at bedtime, nightly. His confession also describes acts such as fondling the children, forcing them to watch him touch himself, forcing them to perform oral sex on him and engaging in other sick and disgusting behaviors. These instances of abuse occurred repeatedly, over a six week period, between April 30th and June 17th, of this year.
According to the Edmond Sun, Durham was finally caught only after a live in caretaker at the Upendo Children’s Home said she noticed odd behavior from Durham. The children were questioned and in spite of the fact that Durham states in his confession that he had told many of his victims to ‘never tell anyone,’ the children did tell.
Durham was removed from the children’s home and detained in Kenya. The case was them reported to authorities in the United States. According to the DOJ’s website, the August 5th Grand Jury indictment “is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Embassy in Kenya, and the United States Department of State Diplomatic Security Criminal Investigative Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Don Gifford II, and David P. Petermann.”
According to evidence presented during the Grand Jury trial, on June 15, 2014, days after the allegations against him surfaced, Durham told an unnamed friend that he was demon possessed.
Here are screenshots of the conversation from www.localtvkfor.com
While it’s possible that Durham is suffering from some sort of mental illness, it’s far more likely that he was trying to desperately to find a way to excuse his crimes. The fact that there was no mention of “Luke the child molesting demon” before Durham was caught, is a sure sign that “the devil made me do it” was the only thing he could come up with under the circumstances.
In his 11 page written confession, Durham makes no mention of “Luke”. He describes the crimes in detail and demonstrates a clear understanding of them as well as a vivid memory of what he did and when he did it.
In spite of his confession, Durham has now entered a plea of not guilty. He claims that his confession was coerced. He also says that the story about being demon possessed was also something that was put into his head by the same people who forced him to confess to crimes he didn’t commit.
According to Oklahoma’s News 6, Representatives of Upendo Kids International have avoided answering questions, possibly because Durham allegedly threatened to burn down the houses of witnesses that testify against him. On the other hand, it could be because this organization fails to screen its ‘missionaries,’ and also appears to do a horrible job of safeguarding the children in their care from sexual predators like Durham.
If Durham is found guilty, he faces life in prison.