EDMOND, Okla. – A jury found an Edmond missionary guilty of molesting Kenyan orphans.
Matthew Durham, convicted on 7 counts, showed no emotion when the judge read the guilty verdict Friday afternoon.
Family and friends in the courtroom were visibly upset.
Since the beginning of this trial, the government said Durham preyed on the most vulnerable of victims, orphan children.
Today, prosecutors say, they got justice.
An emotional trial filled with twists and turns ended Friday with a guilty verdict for Matthew Durham.
The 20-year-old is now convicted of molesting orphan children on a 2014 mission trip to Kenya.
Prosecutors said for Durham, it was not about sex, rather, it was about power and violence.
Five of the young victims testified in a sealed courtroom against the man they once trusted.
“This case shows the FBI, law enforcement, prosecutors, we protect all children, no matter where they’re from,” U.S. Attorney Sanford Coats said.
The crimes happened on Durham’s fourth trip to Kenya.
It was to be his longest trip there.
He insisted on staying at the orphanage, prosecutors say, knowing he could not resist his temptations to touch children.
“This is a sad situation for all involved. The bottom line is Mr. Durham is a threat to children,” Coats said.
The jury deliberated nine hours over two days.
They sent out several notes to the judge.
One note contained concerns about the credibility of Durham’s video confession.
You’ll recall, the defense argued it was coerced.
Durham’s attorney claims the orphanage leaders “groomed” the alleged victims “to come to the U.S. and support their story.”
Durham is seen confessing to raping some of the orphan girls, and he admitted to more sexual abuse in handwritten notes, all presented in the trial.
Prosecutors say the victims in this case – 8 children total – were robbed of their innocence but are hopeful someday they’ll find peace, knowing justice was served.
Prosecutors tell us they plan to seek restitution.
“If the children in the Upendo children’s home find there’s a special need such as counseling, medical, those are things we can seek in sentencing. Those are things we will seek,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Gifford said.
Durham’s attorney, Stephen Jones, told us after the trial the defendant’s family is in shock.
Obviously this was not the outcome they were hoping for, Jones said, and they plan to appeal.
A judge will sentence Durham in the next 2-3 months.
He faces up to 30 years for each of the seven counts.