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5 facts to know about the Edmond man in the Kenyan child sex abuse case

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The trial began Tuesday for a 20-year-old Edmond man accused of sexually abusing neglected children in Kenya in 2014, and you can get caught-up-to-speed on the who, what, when, where and why with this short 5 things article.

Reporter Kyle Schwab is covering the trial for The Oklahoman and NewsOK, and his coverage can be found here.

No. 5 - Who he is

Matthew Lane Durham, 20, of Edmond, volunteered at the Upendo Children’s Home in Nairobi. The home provided Kenyan children with everything from food and shelter to housing and education. Durham previously volunteered there three times from 2012 to 2014 (Trial set to begin for man accused in Kenyan child sex abuse case, June 2015).

No. 4 - What he's accused of

Durham is accused of 17 counts related to the alleged rape and molestation of eight Kenyan children of both sexes, ranging from age 5 to 14. Durham was 19 at the time of the alleged incidents.

According to an affidavit, Durham initially denied the allegations but later admitted he was “struggling with homosexuality and child pornography" (Edmond man accused of sex with Kenyan children indicted with more crimes, January 2015).

No. 3 - From the defense

Durham’s attorney, Stephen Jones, said the alleged actions didn't happen:

“The affidavit is shot through with inaccuracies.”

"The events that occurred in Kenya the last maybe five six days that Matt was there frankly reveal some sort of pseudo-tribal psychological voodoo practiced on him, including confiscating his passport, false imprisonment, keeping food from him one day, delay in allowing him to depart from the country, misleading his parents. I don’t think Hollywood could make up what happened at this so-called orphanage." (Edmond man faces charges of sex acts with Kenyan children, July 2014)

No. 2 - A demon named Luke

Investigators, on the other hand, allege that, shortly after the confession, Durham texted a woman he knew in the United States saying, “I have a demon in me." Followed by: “ ... there is nothing I can do to stop him,” he wrote. “... i’ve prayed so much, but every night luke gets what luke wants.”

No. 1 - About the trial

Prosecutors say they will take up to eight days to make their case. Their witness list includes 39 people, including FBI agents,  missionaries and workers from the orphanage. The children will testify in private.

Durham is being held without bail. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Richard Hall

Richard Hall is an award-winning newsroom developer, editor and blogger for NewsOK. He was born in Austin, Texas, spent his childhood in southern California and has lived in Norman since 1999. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2008. Read more ›

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