The 19-year-old Oklahoma missionary accused of molesting and raping boys and girls at an orphanage in Kenya said he was possessed by a demon at the time.
According to The Daily Mail, federal prosecutors have presented as evidence texts exchanged between Matthew Lane Durham and a friend in which he said he was controlled by a demon named Luke, who forced him to commit the heinous acts.
“How can I not hate this thing inside of me? It takes me at night, and I am powerless over what Luke wants,” one of the texts reportedly read. “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 screenshots of the alleged phone conversations posted online by the Mail, Durham’s friend supposedly instructs him to laugh at the demon and rebuke him out loud.
But Durham reiterates how strong the demon’s hold supposedly is and asks his friend for help, according to the texts.
“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 what Luke wants,” Durham supposedly texted.
“Get on your knees and cry out to [G]od,” was the advice allegedly offered by his friend.
Federal prosecutors have alleged that Durham of Edmond, Okla. engaged in sex acts with as many as 10 children aged 4 to 10 while volunteering at the Upendo Children’s Home near Nairobi between April and June. He had volunteered at the home since June 2012.
On Aug. 5, a federal grand jury handed down a three-count indictment against Durham, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
The indictment alleges Durham travelled from Oklahoma City to Kenya to engage in illicit sexual conduct with the orphans at Upendo Children’s Home, which specializes in assisting neglected Kenyan children by providing them with food, housing, clothes, school and religion.
The teen is also charged with engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors under 18 years of age and aggravated sexual abuse of a child under 12. If convicted, Durham faces life in prison.
The teen is currently being detained while prosecutors appeal an order granting his release on bond. Prosecutors argue the teen is a flight risk and a danger to the public.
“The defendant in this matter by his own detailed admission both orally and in writing has brutally raped and molested young girls and boys in an orphanage in Kenya,” the appeal filed in U.S. District Court alleges, according to The Associated Press. “He has confessed his crimes in writing, on video, and has admitted to a life-long struggle of desires to touch children and ‘child predation.’”
As part of their evidence against Durham, state’s attorneys filed an affidavit stating that the former youth missionary wrote and signed a statement acknowledging the sexual misconduct. An Upendo official provided the statement to the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, the affidavit claimed.
But Durham’s attorney, Stephen Jones, claimed the confession was coerced and was the result of “some sort of pseudo-tribal psychological voodoo,” the Mail reported.
The defendant’s parents, Melissa and Kyle Durham, said they don’t believe the allegations against their son, according to several news reports.