Former US missionary jailed for abusing children in Kenya

Ex-Christian missionary Lane Durham sentenced to 40 years for sexually abusing children at orphanage in Kenya

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Matthew Lane Durham said all he wanted was to follow God's plan for him.

A former Christian missionary from Oklahoma has been sentenced to 40 years in prison by a United States court for sexually abusing children at an orphanage in Kenya.

21-year-old Matthew Lane Durham is involved in the latest case of a series of missionaries in Kenya being suspended for sex crimes. He targeted orphans while he was working as a charity volunteer at the Upendo Children's Home in capital Nairobi between April and June 2014.

He was ordered to pay restitution of $15,863.

"These were heinous crimes committed on the most vulnerable victims. He was their worst nightmare come true," US District Judge David Russell said while giving the sentence.

Durham claimed he is innocent and denied the charges. He said, "All I wanted was to follow God's plan for me."

A jury sentenced Durham in June 2015 on seven counts of involvement in sexual crimes in foreign places but Judge Russell acquitted him on three of the charges last January.

A series of sexual abuses in East Africa

The sentence comes just days after British Airways agreed to pay a large amount of money to the families of children who were sexually abused by its pilot Simon Wood during his voluntary work across Africa including Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.

54-year-old Wood, sexually abused girls between the ages of 5 to 13 while he was in African countries for flights and charity work between 2003 and 2013.

He committed suicide shortly before appearing in court to face sexual abuse charges in August 2013.

British charity boss 55-year-old Simon Harris was sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing street children between 1996 and 2014 in a small town in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

He took children to his home by offering them different things such as food, money, promise of education.

During his trial, Judge Philip Parker QC said young Kenyan victims had been "used, degraded, and humiliated. The mental scars will almost certainly never heal," Judge told Harris.

In addition, United Nations staff members from 21 countries were involved in 99 different sex crimes charges in mostly African countries only in 2015. Also at least 22 children were sexually abused by peacekeeping forces.

TRTWorld and agencies