Matthew Durham Sentenced To 40 Years For Sex Crimes At Kenyan Orphanage

Monday, March 7th 2016, 6:34 pm
By: News 9

A federal judge sentenced a missionary from Edmond to decades in prison, Monday morning.

Matthew Durham is convicted of four counts of molesting children at an orphanage in Kenya.

Judge David Russell said such violent crimes deserve a harsh punishment, which is why he sentenced Durham to 40 years in prison.

Now 21 years old, Durham sat emotionless throughout the final stage of his trial. A jury found him guilty of seven counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children.

Originally Durham faced 24 charges. He was acquitted of three counts in January after a judge said the government failed to prove he committed the offenses. But before the judge sentenced Durham, the Updeno Children's Home founder choked back tears as she read a statement.

Eunice Menja said the children are still traumatized two years later. She added, "The walls of Updeno are stained with sexual abuse."

While other Updeno volunteers sniffled in the gallery, Durham sat stone faced.

“Matthew cannot show remorse because he's not guilty, he's innocent,” said Durham’s lawyer, Stephen Jones. 

3/7/2016 Related Story: Edmond Man Convicted Of Abusing Orphans Sentenced To 40 Years In Prison

Meanwhile, Durham's family has stood behind him fighting to prove his innocence. Durham asked the judge for mercy, and said, "Ultimately, it's God's judgment that matters, not man's."

He faced a maximum of 210 years in prison, and was sentenced to about a fifth of that time; a sentence that left Menja and other volunteers with mixed emotions as they go back to focusing on the children.

“It's a beginning of healing. It's a new beginning for them and we all can't wait to talk to them,” said Menja.

Jones plans to appeal the convictions and expects to have it heard within the next two years.

Durham was also ordered today to pay more than $15,000 in restitution to the government. After serving his prison term, he will spend the rest of his life on supervised release and must register as a sex offender for life.