A 19-year-old Edmond man is accused of engaging in sex acts with children while volunteering in Kenya this spring.
Matthew Lane Durham was charged late Friday in Oklahoma City federal court with four counts of traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
Lane is accused of committing the acts with four to 10 children of both sexes, according to the probable cause affidavit. The children range in age from 4 to 9 years old.
At least one of the children is HIV positive, records show.
Durham volunteered at the Upendo Children’s Home in Nairobi. The home, which is funded through sponsorships and donations, provides neglected Kenyan children with food, housing, clothing, education and religious instruction. Durham has previously volunteered three times: June 2012, June 2013, and in December. He stayed with sponsor families during prior visits.
The sex acts are alleged to have been committed on the fourth trip, from April 30 to June 17, when Durham requested to stay overnight at the children’s home, the complaint states.
Durham’s attorney, Stephen Jones, said, “The affidavit is shot through with inaccuracies.”
“The events that occurred in Kenya the last maybe five six days that Matt was there frankly reveal some sort of pseudo-tribal psychological voodoo practiced on him, including confiscating his passport, false imprisonment, keeping food from him one day, delay in allowing him to depart from the country, misleading his parents. I don’t think Hollywood could make up what happened at this so-called orphanage.
“We’re on the ground in Kenya now. We’re finding out a lot about these people. This place is right on the outskirts of Nairobi. It's like some cult over there,” Jones said.
Initially, Durham denied the allegations, but later admitted he was “struggling with homosexuality and child pornography,” the affidavit states.
Durham wrote graphic statements about the alleged incidents, which were provided to the U.S. Embassy. On June 30, the embassy requested an American law enforcement agency pursue charges, the affidavit states.
Durham is being held without bail. He faces up to life in prison if convicted. An attorney for Durham did not return a message seeking comment.