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Missionary Sentenced To 40 Years In Prison For Sexually Abusing Children in Africa

A 21-year-old missionary identified as Matthew Lane Durham, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for sexually assaulting three girls ages 5, 9 and 15 at least eight times. During that same time period, he sexually molested a 12-year-old boy twice.

According to the prosecutor, Durham “not only forcefully sexually abused these children,” but “he psychologically damaged them by taking advantage of their trust he received from the children.”

Durham worked in several countries in East Africa as a volunteer and missionary.

In a sentencing memorandum to the court in February, they wrote that Durham’s actions “have had a chilling effect on the lives of dozens of foreign volunteers in Kenya and elsewhere who must now live under the cloud of suspicion … there is a real perception among Upendo’s local Kenyan community that more pedophiles lurk among the volunteers, especially the male volunteers.”

In 2014, Durham arrived at Upendo Children’s Centre to volunteer with neglected children, according to the criminal complaint. Durham had previously volunteered at the school three times before. The organization, funded by an American citizen, recruits volunteers from the Oklahoma church community and provides food, housing and clothes to neglected children in Nairobi, according to the complaint.

Upon arriving in 2014, Durham requested to stay at an “overflow bunk” in the school rather than an off-site facilities with sponsor families to be in a “better position to assist the children,” the complaint says.

A school caretaker began to notice odd behavior between Durham and the children, including “lingering embraces” and “lying beside some of the children on their beds” at night, the complaint says.

Durham was confronted by leaders at the school who then held his passport, the complaint says. They returned the passport to him days later, and he flew back to Oklahoma.
Sexual Abuse 3686415354988330667

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