The school, founded by an American citizen, recruits volunteers from an Oklahoma church community and provides food, housing, and clothes to neglected children in Nairobi, according to the complaint.
Matthew Lane Durham, 19, now faces a life sentence for traveling to a foreign place to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors and aggravated sexual abuse with minors.
According to the Washington Post:
During a volunteer trip to Kenya this spring, Durham asked to stay in an “overflow bunk” at the Upendo Children’s Home instead of sleeping off-site with a sponsor family in Nairobi, court papers claim. A caretaker who noticed strange behavior asked the children at the home about it, and that’s when she learned of the alleged abuse, a criminal complaint said.
The complaint lists at least 10 victims, both girls and boys between the ages of 4 and 9. Authorities also believe at least one of the victims is HIV-positive.
Though Durham “admitted to be struggling with homosexuality and child pornography” after being confronted, Durham’s lawyer, Steven Jones, said his client denied the allegations and said he was essentially coerced into confessing to get his passport back. The passport was returned to Durham, and he flew back home to Oklahoma with a ticket purchased by his parents, the complaint said.
He said Durham was held at a house, for a time without food, and subjected to a “pseudopsychological good cop, bad cop” routine with “elements of religion and manipulation.”
He continued, accusing the home of using some sort of faux voodoo on Durham.
“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,” Jones told the Oklahoman. “I don’t think Hollywood could make up what happened at this so-called orphanage.”
Durham is scheduled to appear in court again in August.