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Oklahoma teen accused of sexually abusing children in Kenya

By Heide Brandes

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An Oklahoma teenager is charged with traveling to Kenya to sexually abuse children at a missionary children's home in the East African country, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

According to records released by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, Matthew Lane Durham, 19, volunteered at the Upendo Children's Home in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, which helps care for neglected and disabled children.

It said Durham, of Edmond, visited the home first in 2012, then twice last year, and from April to June of this year. During his latest trip, it said, he stayed at the home in an "overflow bunk," rather than off-site with a sponsor family.

According to the criminal affidavit, from April to June of 2014, Durham allegedly engaged in sexual acts with multiple children, male and female, aged between 4 and 10-years-old.

A live-in caretaker at the facility, which was set up by an Edmond citizen who immigrated to the United States from Kenya, said that, when asked, the children said Durham either touched them sexually or told them to touch themselves while he watched.

When confronted by the founder of Upendo and several church members, Durham allegedly confessed to several instances of rape and sexual abuse of children, the affidavit said, adding that at least one of the victims is HIV positive.

Durham was arrested on July 17 and appeared before a judge in Oklahoma City on Friday.  He is held without bond and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 1.

If convicted, Durham faces up to life in prison. 

Robert Troester of the U.S. Attorney's office said Durham will be tried in Oklahoma City. He said he could not comment on whether Kenya might try to extradite the teen to face criminal charges in that country.

(Reporting by Heide Brandes; Editing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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