OK- Volunteer charged with child sex crimes to be kept in custody, SNAP responds

For immediate release: Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])

A teenaged missionary from Oklahoma, who last month was charged with sexually abusing several young children from an African orphanage, will remain in custody. Our hearts ache for the vulnerable children who, instead of receiving much needed aid, were sexually assaulted. We are glad he will be kept in custody and hope officials provide outreach for other children who may have been abused. 

Matthew Durham has traveled several times to Kenya to work at a children’s home with an organization called Upendo. The allegations of abuse stem from his most recent trip. We are glad a judge is keeping him in prison pending an appeal. We believe he might flee the US if given the chance.

Durham admitted in writing and on video to a "lifelong attraction" to kids, outreach is even more critical. It is possible that there are more victims who have been suffering in silence and self blame from previous trips or in the Oklahoma community he lives in. Also because he blames “inner demon{s}” for his behavior he's less apt to respond well to treatment & this should be considered in his sentencing.

Upendo and any other organization he is associated with should immediately provide the children he abused with access to rehabilitative services and reach out to anyone else who might be suffering in silence and self blame, in Kenya and the US.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])


Showing 1 comment

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant