US teen accused of molesting Kenyan orphans

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iol pic wld Child Abuse Allegations Associated Press Melissa Durham and Kyle Durham leave the Federal Courthouse in Oklahoma City following a detention hearing for their son, Matthew. Picture: Sue Ogrocki

Oklahoma City - An Oklahoma teen accused of raping and molesting orphans during a mission trip to Kenya was ordered on Tuesday to remain in custody when a judge suspended an earlier decision to release him on bond.

On Monday, an Oklahoma judge ruled that 19-year-old Matthew Durham of Edmond could be released on a $10 000 bond on the basis of his father's agreement to act as custodian, the surrender of his passport and a 24-hour home lockdown.

The teen was still in custody when US prosecutors appealed and US District Judge David Russell on Tuesday ordered the teen to stay in custody while the federal court considers the appeal.

Durham has been accused of raping up to 10 boys and girls aged 6 to 9 at the Upendo Children's Home in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The home helps care for neglected and disabled children.

Defence attorneys claim that Durham was pressured and coerced into making a confession.

Durham's mother, father and pastor testified on his behalf during a detention hearing on Monday, saying that the written and video confessions were forced. Defence attorneys also said that Durham was told he would “face certain death” in Kenya if he did not confess.

Prosecutors claim the teen said a demon named “Luke” made him commit the crimes.

The Motion for Detention, filed by federal prosecutors, said Durham could be a flight risk and a danger to the public.

“The defendant poses a significant danger to the community if released,” wrote Sanford Coats, a US attorney.

During the bond hearing on Monday, prosecutors said Kenyan officials were pursuing extradition for Durham to face charges there, but the US Western District Court and the US Department of State did not comment on the statements.

The Kenyan Embassy in Washington has not responded to requests for information. - Reuters

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