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Teen volunteer faces life prison sentence for crimes committed in African orphanage

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Posted at 11:42 AM, Jul 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-22 11:45:08-04

EDMOND, Okla. – An Edmond teenager faces a possible life prison sentence after authorities said he committed shocking crimes while on an African mission trip. The suspect, 19-year-old Matthew Durham, was volunteering at a Kenyan children's home when he allegedly raped and molested a number of young children, according to court records.

Durham confessed to raping several young girls, forcing some boys to perform oral sex on him and even making other kids watch, according to court documents.

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"This is a young man in our community that made choices to exploit children in an orphanage," United States Attorney Sanford Coats said. "It's a true tragedy all the way around."

Edmond traveled overseas with a group called Upendo. The organization assists neglected Kenyan kids by providing food, housing, clothes and religion.

While Durham volunteered to travel overseas several times over the last two years, on his last visit, the criminal complaint alleged, "Durham requested to stay at the children's home in an 'overflow bunk' rather than at an offsite facility."

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During that visit, several alleged victims claimed Durham "often touched them in a sexual manner or told them to touch themselves while he watched."

Once confronted, Durham allegedly confessed.

"A caretaker at the orphanage noticed something wasn't right and confronted Mr. Durham. He admitted to some of the acts," Coats said.

The affidavit continues, "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 said while the alleged sex crimes were committed overseas, Durham can be held accountable for the crimes in Oklahoma.

Durham is being held without bond.

Source: KFOR