Edmond man accused of molesting children during mission trip in court
OKLAHOMA CITY —
An Edmond man accused of sexually assaulting and molesting young children on a mission trip to Africa had his day in court. 19-year-old Matthew Durham is charged with four counts of leaving the country to engage in illicit sexual conduct. Federal prosecutors played video clips of Durham allegedly admitting to the crimes in court.
There were no cameras allowed inside the federal court building but FOX25 was inside a standing room only courtroom Friday as the judge heard arguments for probable cause in the preliminary hearing of Durham. The crimes allegedly occurred during a June mission trip to Kenya.
Court documents state Durham confessed to the crimes oncell phonee video and on paper. In one hand written confession in regards to a six year old, Durham allegedly wrote quote "I would take her down to the bathroom at night and hold her down and rape her. This happened on several occasions. I also made her watch me do things to (blank). I told her to never to tell anyone and that I loved her."
Durham allegedly confessed to suffering from desires to be with other men and touch small children all of his life. Federal prosecutors also said Durham blamed his actions on a demon he called Luke. He allegedly sent a Facebook message to a friend that said, "It takes me at night and I am powerless over what Luke wants. Yes, I named him. I know that's crazy."
His attorney Stephen Jones says the case against Durham is weak.
"I always have hope. In this case I probably have greater hope," said Jones.
He said he's surprised as to how much the government's case relies on the video confession. He argues Durham's passport was taken from him and he was forced to confess. The judge also did something jones called unusual. He asked for more evidence for the third count which accuses Durham of knowingly traveling to Kenya with the purpose of engaging in these illicit sexual acts.
"The burden is so little that the fact that he asked for it shows the government's problem in this case," said Jones.
In the end the judge ruled there was probable cause for all four counts. A detention hearing for release will be held on Monday. The judge will decide whether or not Matthew Durham will be released from custody until the trial begins.