Oklahoma Teen Missionary Accused of Rape in Kenya


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A 19-year-old missionary from Oklahoma accused of raping and molesting children in Kenya was ordered by a judge to remain in custody on Tuesday. There had been a ruling on Monday allowing the teen to be bailed out for $10,000 and stay under house arrest, which was revoked.

U.S. Magistrate Shon Erwin granted Matthew Durham a release on bond under house arrest with his father to act as custodian. Though, U.S. District Judge David Russell stepped in and ordered Durham to stay in jail while the federal court considers the appeal.

Durham, of Edmond, OK, has been accused of sexually assaulting up to 10 boys and girls aged six to nine at the Upendo Children's Home in Nairobi. Durham's attorneys believe the teen was coerced into making a confession, and asserted that the teen was told he would "face certain death" in Kenya.

Durham's mother, father and pastor testified on his behalf during his detention hearing on Monday, corroborating the story of coercion in Kenya, though prosecutors revealed that the teen claimed a demon name "Luke" told him to commit the attacks.

Federal prosecutors filed a Motion for Detention Tuesday, citing that Durham could be a flight risk and a danger to the public. U.S. attorney Sanford Coats commented, "The defendant poses a significant danger to the community if released."

Durham was indicted for one count of traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, engaging in sexual conduct and aggravated sexual abuse.

Prosecutors said Kenya is pursuing extradition for Durham to face charges there.

Image via Wikimedia Commons