Matthew Lane Durham, the 19-year-old missionary man from Oklahoma who was charged with sexually abusing young boys and girls at an orphanage in Kenya, has attributed his acts to a demon he says had possessed him.
According to a report in The Daily Mail, federal prosecutors say the young volunteer exchanged text messages with a friend claiming that a demon named Luke had taken control over his body and forced him to commit the lewd acts. One message, which was also included in court documents reportedly read:
How can I not hate this thing inside of me? It takes me at night, and I am powerless over what Luke wants. Yes I named him, I know how crazy that is. He whispers in my ear all day, and he’s so hard to resist.
In a screenshot of the text messages published on The Daily Mail, Durham’s friend allegedly responds by telling him to “laugh” at the demon and to speak against him out loud.
According to the texts, Durham continued to emphasize the “power” the demon had over him and desperately asked his friend for help:
Literally he takes me at night and there is nothing I can do to stop him. I’m asleep, what can I do? You honestly have no idea… I’ve prayed so much, but every night Luke gets get Luke wants.
In response, his friend advised him to “get on your knees every night and cry out to God.”
Durham faces life in prison for charges of illegal sexual conduct in foreign places and aggravated sexual abuse with up to ten children between the ages of 4 and 10 while volunteering at Upendo Children’s Home in Nairobi from April to June 2014.
According to the Associated Press, the teen allegedly wrote a confession admitting that he sexually abused young children in one of the bathrooms at the children’s home.
In the affidavit, he reportedly writes that at least one of the children was HIV-positive.
However, Durham’s attorney Stephen Jones claimed that the affidavit is “based upon second-hand, or in some cases third-hand, hearsay” and is therefore inaccurate. He joins Durham’s parents in claiming that the young man is innocent.
Durham is currently back in the states and was arrested in late July.
The Associated Press reports that a federal judge in Oklahoma City granted him bond on Monday, ordering him to a 24-hour lockdown at his home with no use of cellphones, computers or contact with children.
However, the order was reversed by U.S. District Judge David Russell, who said the charges against Durham are “extremely serious” and instead has ordered that the teen be detained until his trial.
According to the Associated Press, Russell’s order says:
From the evidence submitted, it appears that defendant potentially poses a danger to himself and to others in the community, especially minors, who are ill-equipped to protect themselves.
Durham is currently being detained at the Logan County Jail.
Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works.