Jury selection begins in case of Oklahoma man accused of sexually abusing Kenyan orphans
EDMOND, Okla. — Jury selection is underway in the trial of a 20-year-old man accused of terrible crimes against children on an African mission trip.
According to court records, Matthew Durham, then 19-years-old, confessed to raping several young girls, forcing some boys to perform oral sex on him and even making other kids watch while volunteering at a Kenyan children’s home.
Durham was arrested in July 2014 at his parents’ home in Edmond, Oklahoma by federal agents.
“This is a young man in our community that made choices to exploit children in an orphanage,” said United States Attorney Sanford Coats almost a year ago. “It’s a true tragedy all the way around.”
The Oklahoma City courtroom is sealed until the jury is seated. According to KFOR-TV, Kenyan orphans he’s accused of sexually abusing are in Oklahoma City to testify against Durham.
Durham traveled overseas with a group called Upendo, an organization that assists neglected Kenyan kids by providing food, housing, clothes and religion. , Durham reportedly volunteered with Upendo in June 2012, June 2013, December 2013, and from April 30 to June 17, 2014.
During the last visit, several alleged victims claimed Durham “often touched them in a sexual manner or told them to touch themselves while he watched.”
“A caretaker at the orphanage noticed something wasn’t right and confronted Mr. Durham.
The affidavit at the time of his arrest said: “The victims are believed to be both boys and girls between the ages of four and nine, at least one of whom is HIV positive.”
Prosecutors say while the alleged sex crimes were committed overseas, Durham can be held accountable for the crimes in Oklahoma. Follow developments on KFOR-TV in Oklahoma. Opening statements are expected to begin Wednesday. Prosecutors will have to prove whether Durham sexually abused the children and whether he traveled to Kenya with the intention to do so.