American Missionary Given 40-Year Prison Sentence for Sexually Abusing Children
Veronica NeffingerReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2017 Feb 24
An American missionary has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for sexually abusing four children while he was serving in a children’s ministry home in Kenya.
Christian Today reports that a court found 21-year-old Matthew Lane Durham guilty on charges that he “raped three girls – ages five, nine and 15 – at least eight times in a span of just 33 days," as well as molested a 12-year-old boy twice within the same time frame.
Durham had been working as a volunteer for neglected children at Upendo Children’s Home in Nairobi, Kenya. While there, he asked to stay in an “overflow bunk” on the grounds of the children’s home rather than in the off-site facilities, reportedly to be in a “better position to assist children.”
Another worker at the home noticed concerning behavior between Durham and the children, including “lingering embraces” and “lying beside some of the children on their beds.”
Durham’s passport was confiscated while these events were investigated.
Durham’s actions have had tragic consequences for the entire African region where he worked.
According to prosecutors in the case, his 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 paedophiles lurk among the volunteers, especially the male volunteers.”
Durham’s lawyers will reportedly appeal the verdict. They allege that Durham was forced into a confession in order to get his passport back.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: February 24, 2017