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Press Release

Edmond Ministry Volunteer to Serve 40 Years in Prison for Engaging in Sexual Conduct with Multiple Children in Kenya

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma –  Today, MATTHEW LANE DURHAM, 21, from Edmond, Oklahoma, was sentenced by United States District Judge David Russell to serve 480 months in federal prison for engaging in illicit sexual conduct with multiple children in Kenya, announced Mark A. Yancey, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.  

"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."

Durham was convicted on June 19, 2015, following a trial that lasted six and a half days.  According to evidence at trial, Durham was a volunteer at the Upendo Children’s Home, located in Juja, Kenya.  Upendo specializes in assisting neglected Kenyan children by providing them with food, housing, clothes, school and religion.  Evidence showed that between April 30, 2014, and June 17, 2014, Durham traveled from Oklahoma City to Nairobi, Kenya, and while in Kenya he engaged in sexual conduct with multiple children under 18 years of age.  The jury deliberated for approximately nine hours before finding Durham guilty. 

At the sentencing hearing today, Mr. Durham stood convicted of four counts.  After finding that Durham lied under oath at trial, Judge Russell ordered him to serve 480 months in federal prison.  After serving his prison term, he was also 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.

Reference is made to the court record for further information. 

This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who was assisted by the United States Embassy in Kenya, the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, and the Kenyan National Police Directorate of Criminal Investigations.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Don Gifford II, Assistant U.S. Attorney David P. Petermann, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven W. Creager.

Updated March 7, 2016