A former missionary from Edmond, Oklahoma, who was found guilty of sexually abusing children at an orphanage in Kenya, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison on Monday.
Sentencing took place Monday for Matthew Lane Durham, 21. Some of his sentence will run concurrently. Durham spoke in court Monday morning, asking for mercy. The Judge called his actions, “A heinous crime committed on vulnerable children.”
“Mr. Durham took advantage of his position as a ministry volunteer to sexually assault multiple children in Kenya,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Mark Yancey. “The significant sentence imposed today will remove the threat of any other children being exploited by him. However, the innocence of the child victims cannot be restored and their lives will never be the same. It is our hope and prayer that his conviction and lengthy sentence will someday bring them some comfort and peace.”
After serving his prison term, he was ordered to spend the rest of his life on supervised release and must register as a sex offender for life. He was also ordered to pay $15,863 in restitution.
A 12-member jury convicted Durham in June on a total of seven counts, but U.S. District Judge David L. Russell acquitted Durham on three of the counts in January.
Prosecutors alleged Durham targeted orphans while volunteering at the Upendo Children's Centre in Nairobi, between April and June 2014. The four counts Durham was convicted of involved three girls and a boy ranging in age from 5 to 14.
The owner of Upendo Children’s Centre said the orphanage is “stained” because of the crimes he committed.
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