A former volunteer missionary to an orphanage in Kenya has been convicted of sexually abusing children in the orphanage and has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Christian Today reports that 21-year-old Matthew Lane Durham has been charged with molesting eight children at the Upendo Children’s Home in Nairobi, Kenya.
Durham allegedly confessed to the founder of Upendo as well as to church members that he raped and sexually assaulted the children, although he denied the charges at the preliminary hearing, saying that an evil spirit had possessed him and he did not remember if he had molested the children.
Oklahoma’s News9 reports that Durham’s co-worker at the orphanage, Tanner Bailey, said that looking back, he now sees that there was something wrong about the way Durham interacted with the children.
“You know, Matthew, he put on a great persona as being a person that wanted to help these kids out of the good of his heart. Being with him, you know, I believed him. I saw the same thing that he showed everybody else,” Bailey said.
“Things that he would do, things that he would say. How he would play with the kids, it was different,” Bailey added.
From April 30, 2014 to June 17, 2014, Durham was living in Nairobi during which time he abused the children under the pretense of helping them.
Durham’s last trip to Kenya was in December 2014. At this time, federal prosecutors were already at the children’s home investigating.
Bailey says that when they arrived, the children ran from both himself and Durham since they look similar.
“Americans look the same to them and so having a buzz cut at the time and him having a buzz having the same build, the children ran from me when I got there. Which is heartbreaking because I love these kids,” Bailey said.
Publication date: March 10, 2016