Coach stirs up outrage over threats to CIAA

| 12/02/2018 | 59 Comments
Cayman News Service

Ato Stephens

(CNS): Ato Stephens, the former Trinidadian track star who was convicted of ‘sexting’ with one of the underage athletes he was training while working as a coach in the Cayman Islands, is threatening the local athletic association with legal action after they withdrew his membership. While the convicted coach’s threats have caused public outrage in light of mounting controversy that he has not yet been deported, he is nevertheless claiming that he was booted out of the Cayman Islands Athletic Association without a fair hearing.

Stephens is married to medal-winning Cayman Islands athlete Cydonie Mothersill, who sits on the board of the association which banned Stephens, by unanimous vote, at the end of last year following his conviction and 18-month jail sentence. But in a letter to CIAA President Lance Barnes and other executive members, Stephens claimed his human rights had been violated and the CIAA had broken its own rules .

Since receiving the letter, Barnes has said that many parents of CIAA athletes are not happy with his efforts to regain membership and some are threatening to withdraw their support of the association.

“This concerns me because we will be hosting CARIFTA 2019 in Cayman, so we need everyone’s support, especially parents, so this really concerns me and I believe we really have to do the right thing,” he said. He pointed to the child protection policy which obligates associations to protect young people from sexual predators.

However, Stephens is arguing that he has not been convicted of a sex crime but of abusing an Information Communications Technology Network to annoy, harass or abuse. He was charged with two counts of indecent assault and one of gross indecency, but gaps in the police investigation and contradictions in the evidence led to his acquittal on the more serious charges.

Stephens had denied all the allegations, despite the phone evidence that led to his conviction, which a judge described as disgraceful and said it was obvious Stephens had derived sexual pleasure from the ‘sexting’ with the child.

Many people also believe that Stephens should have been deported immediately after he was released from jail, as per the court’s recommendations. However, he is married to a Caymanian and is the father of two local children, calling into question the potential deportation.

Cabinet recently released a statement saying that it has yet to consider Stephens’ position and has not yet decided whether he will be removed from the jurisdiction. Last week the opposition called for his immediate deportation because they believe he poses a risk to other potential victims.

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Category: Crime, Local News

Comments (59)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ato, I hope you read this comment, you vile, disgusting loser who needs your ego stroked by a teenager I hope that: # 1, your wife has the sense to divorce your piece of scum ass, # 2 you leave our beautiful island because YOU HAVE a MFing problem that will probably never be fixed. DEPORT HIM!

    Most child abusers who have sex with minors start with just phone text, the fact that you admitted to that makes me think you are lying about not going any further with that girl. The courts may have believed you but I highly doubt most sensible people outside the courts believe you

    On another note I hope that young lady is getting all the support and counseling she needs right now!

    I personally was in that situation in high school. As an adult, I look back at the men who took advantage of me with disgust. Be warned these men ( when I was a teenager) will hide with smiling facing behind “Not for Profit” organizations that come and preach things like “don’t do drugs” or manage things like the Miss Teen contest” only to have easy access to a bunch of teenage girls with raging hormones who will bat their eyes at any older man who makes them feel “pretty”. I didn’t think much beyond this fact, or why these men wouldn’t prefer to hang out with women their own age. I was more preoccupied with what I saw: sophistication, worldliness and a gateway to adulthood (yeah right!!)

    Later on in life, as an adult, there were also many older “gross” men on island who showed me this attention and these were men in power or control of me in some way whom I felt obligated to appease. As a result I have lived with a lot of regret because of my shamefully low self esteem, depression and anxiety that allowed me to keep quiet while these men took advantage of me.
    With that said I hope this young lady’s parents, family , and friends listen to her and get her all of the help and support she needs! She needs counseling and btw do back ground checks on island before you send them to a shrink! I know one of these younger phds and she is known to be friends with some of the biggest pedophiles and grossest men on island. Do your research! #metoo#timesup

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much Ezzard. Praying for you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    do not all contracts have in them that as an employee you act on behalf of your employer, and any behavior deemed to damage the image of the employer lead to just cause? especially someone who is on a work permit and working with children. its like allowing a drug addict to run a pharmacy.

    • West bay Premier says:

      What I see coming from all this negative comments in the press, is if the CIAA and Cabinet caves to him and let him remain on the Island and as coach . Everyone wouldn’t want their kids around him , and the kids wont be able to participate in sports . Unless if someone else starts an Athletic Association with clean and decent coaches.

      But I believe that the best thing he and his wife can do for themselves is to pickup and go to some place and hide their faces and start life over . Because I don’t think that both of them would be thought too much of in the public eyes after this .

  4. Patricia Bryan says:

    Someone tell him to hide his head in the ground as ostriches do. Even they have more shame. Does he not realize he is in denial that he is a convict? The organisation should not have to remove him, he should have gone quietly. His attitude is another example of why our government needs to be able to control its own governance, not the UK. He should be gone by now. I’m not sure whether he is married to a Caymanian and or have a Caymanian born child or other relative connections but if he were a Jamaican we would see how quickly the judicial and immigration systems would find a way for him to have been removed. Sadly it should apply across the board. Thankful she wasn’t MY daughter. I would make it my job to find a way.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a Cayman decision, not a UK one. That is why the Premier issued a statement the other night that they had not yet considered the deportation case. But don’t let facts get in the way of a rant against the UK. I can’t fix stupid, as much as I would like to.

    • Anonymous says:

      both children was born in the usa and this is the second time this has happen just that the first time no one report his ass

  5. Anonymous says:

    CALLING…ALL previous victims…….PLEASE come forward. Thank you.

    • Sports in a mess says:

      Let’s deport all the MLAs in 2021 who supports this who has no shame. He will be a big embarrassment for Cayman if he is here for CARIFTA. This is who we are making PR now. XXXXX What a mess our sport organization are in.

    • Anon says:

      If this man cared about his wife and children rather than his own selfish goals and perverted needs he would keep his mouth shut and save them more embarrassment.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t matter what he was convicted of, this person is not honourable enough to be around children. Could have been shoplifting, drunk driving whatever, he would not be welcomed in any association that I belong in.

  7. Bertie :B says:

    Hope that this perverts crime ( which he feels isn’t a big deal ) never happens to his children . Its sickening and disgusting . Your a short eyes ! live with it , somewhere else !

  8. Anonymous says:

    Recognizing that people should have a right to ‘family life’, i.e., not being unfairly separated from family (wife & kids) by a Government, is there any level of criminality that people would accept does not trump that right?

    For argument’s sake, a conviction for speeding should not invalidate someone’s right to stay in a country with their spouse and children. Sexual predator, maybe. (Please don’t argue this particular case in this thread.) But are there any crimes between speeding & sexting where people think its OK for the convicted criminal, after serving/paying their penalty, to be allowed to stay?

    • Patricia Bryan says:

      With all due respect if I understand your comment, if it were your daughter maybe you would feel different?
      Cayman should use this situation to bring certain laws up to date. That’s what is supposed to happen when such cases are before law enforcement. The law is supposed to change with the time.

      • Anonymous says:

        Of course he would feel different, if he were similar to me he would probably want to lunch the guy. However that is precisely the reason why closely associated people should not be allowed to be involved, apart from impact statements. You allow emotion into it (as many on here do) and you no longer have the rule of law, you have mob rule. That hasn’t worked well anywhere.

      • Anonymous says:

        Patricia – You did misunderstand the question. the question i hypothetical: where is the line between low-level non-deportation crimes and higher-level deportation crimes, given that people DO have a right to family life.

        And people should have a right to family life. No one should agree that the Govt. can deport you because you switch religion, for example. Now obviously there is a limit to this (your right stops at my rights, etc.) so the question is: where is it?

        See Fred the Piemaker’s answer, below, for the kind of discussion I was trying to start.

      • Anon says:

        11:53–exactly what do u mean that the “law is supposed to change with the time”. I hope I’ve not trying to condone what this man has been convicted of doing.

        • Anon says:

          Correcting typo; That was “I hope YOU are not trying to condone what this man has been convicted of doing”.

    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      Well the law provides for deportation for any criminal offence involving imprisonment over 6 months, so there is a clear enough line in law. And at the end of the day, if you are a guest in someone else’s country I would suggest that breaking the law to the extent that you get imprisoned for 6 months or more probably demonstrates that you shouldn’t be afforded the courtesy of getting to stay afterwards. Not as if anyone forced you to break the law. What muddies the water is the discretionary element being exercised by Cabinet, which opens the door to a perception of bias and the personal views of Cabinet rather than the judicial application of the law. In short, on deportation what people think and the law says is irrelevant – it comes down to what a handful of people think.

      • Anonymous says:

        thanks Fred, that’s fair enough. And thanks for pointing out to me that its a double-question, which I hadn’t appreciated. (That there’s the 6-month rule, and then there’s the Cabinet discretion on top of that, which is where the muddy water comes in. I hadn’t considered it from that angle.) It does sound like it would be cleaner to make it a hard rule with no discretion (6 months you’ve voided your right to family life). Or at most a single point of discretion – the court at sentencing/appeal where 6 months or more is assessed. – Thanks.

      • nauticalone says:

        Exactly! And there have been several persons resident in Cayman with Caymanian spouse / child who have been deported. I’m not aware though that any were sufficiently “connected” to anyone with “power” to decide otherwise?

  9. Real Caymanian.. says:

    You know what I don’t seem to understand.. Whether he, the court, or the gov is right or wrong.. Why does this man even want to stay here??? Not just stay here but he wants to take legal action against CIAA?? This man doesn’t have any shame awa?!?!?! Like bro! We caught you messing with a little girl!! Why would you even want to show your face around here again??? Smh.. And to think this man has children himself?!?!?! Yo something is missing here! This story na adding up.. Not too long ago he was on the run.. Now he wants his job back?? Wow! And besides all that.. As mean as it might sound I personally blame the parents for this.. Why did you call the police??? Why did you not handle this yourself???? After being flogged like Kunta Kinte aka Toby he would have begged me to allow him to leave this island! I don’t have faith in the justice system we have here.. Some things should be handled in the streets.. You lucked out this time Ato!

  10. SportsMom says:

    Great way to undermine ALL our female athletes. Cydonie needs to resign her CIAAA position due to a conflict of interests. Cut the losses now, it’s always going to be something with this guy around. Counterproductive at the very least.

  11. The Constitutional Critic says:

    Whether you want him to stay or not, technically he is right, I am not supporting him staying on island or staying in the CIAA but I’m sure they can undo their original action and throw him out for some other reason taking away his ability to claim that he was wronged
    These rules and laws are written very specifically and even if you think he is a guilty pervert who deserves to be stoned to death technically he was acquitted of the actual charges that would be considered sex crimes

    • Painkiller says:

      Tell them Bro enlighten them as to who and what exactly they voted for in the last election. Let the beatings continue?

    • Anonymous says:

      He served 18 months for lewd communications with the only minor that testified. You don’t get your old job back or right to work with kids after a betrayal of trust like that. You get put on a watch list, and rightly so. Hopefully this will embolden the other witnesses to come forward and send him back to jail for the crimes he wasn’t actually tried for. Maybe that’s what he’d prefer, and if so, bring it on.

    • Observer says:

      First, I would think that the association can do whatever it wants in banning a member they think unfit. I don’t think his case would get anywhere near the court door.

      Second, he was using a ICT device to harass and abuse an underage subject? What? Did I not hear he was pressuring her to send him naked photos? Is that not sexual abuse!!

      I think this man needs serious and urgent mental care.

      He obviously does not realize the seriousness of his offense and he must never be allowed near any young woman.

      • The Constitutional Critic says:

        This organization is bound to the rules they put in place in their charter or other relevant documents, they have to act in accordance with these documents (which clearly he or his lawyer is familiar with)

        I am not defending him or agreeing with him my comment is purely from a legal standpoint

        He would likely win the case if he is correct, because like many things in cayman their rules are likely outdated and have many loopholes

        They need to rescind their original action and find another way to kick him out

        it is pretty simple
        That is all I advocated for

        • Anon says:

          9:12 pm: the man was convicted of “convincing a 14 year old of sending him topless photos of herself. “

          The association does not need another reason to kick him out.

          The association has a responsibility to protect the children in its charge.

          There is no need to rescind anything. The courts would never countenance any petition by this man on this matter.

          He has no legal footing for any redress.

    • The Constitutional Critic says:

      Thank God all you downvoters clearly aren’t lawyers
      the criminals would run amok

      Set your own beliefs aside and look at the facts and rules in regard to this situation, I did not say give him his job back or let him back into the association I said undo the original order which he likely could make a case against and find another way to kick him out that he would be unable to challenge
      People in Cayman do not think, there are some fights that aren’t worth wasting time over and this is clearly one of them
      I am sure they have some other portion of their rules that he has broken that they could easily kick him out for

    • Patricia Bryan says:

      He is still a convict. And not of a misdemeanor charge. That in itself has foundation.

    • Anon says:

      12:08 pm: if you read the Compass editorial on Tuesday you will see the “actual” crime that he was convicted of, to quote the Compass, was “convincing a fourteen year old of sending him topless photos of herself.”

      Your argument is both groundless and shameful.

      Neither Stephens nor you has a leg to stand on. Outrageous.

  12. Papa not happy says:

    Its clear this unity government is no longer serving the best interest of the Caymanian people infact it has not been since its inception.Its time we cut support to ensure our very existence on this island now!

    • Anonymous says:

      There are laws. We have to obey them otherwise we will have anarchy. He was not convicted of a sex crime, which in good old Caymankind way, he is still being labeled with enacting that crime, despite not being found guilty. I may not like it, but it is the law.

      • Patricia Bryan says:

        He is still a convict. And his crime is similar to a sex crime. He has nerves. Thankfully she wasn’t my daughter because I would walk the LA and Govt building steps picketing and make a spectacle of myself. I would call international medias in also. He thinks he has no repercussions, you see. “This is Cayman man”, he’s thinking, “I can do whatever I want here, I have rights”. Every nation have rights in Cayman except for Jamaicans and or Cubans (who although many give trouble, THEY of all nations deserve the rights as they helped build our islands), or Caymanians.

      • Anon says:

        1:47,are u for real? He was convicted of harassing,etc., an underage victim! That spells sexual predator! Please think before you write.

      • Fred the Piemaker says:

        I may not like it, but it is the law….Actually, its not the law at all. The law says if you get sentenced to imprisonment for longer than 6 months, you can be deported . Whilst people are particularly upset because he sent sexual texts to a 14 year old – how you don’t view that as a sex crime is beyond me – the fact that he was found not guilty of the more serious offences is irrelevant. If there is anyone not following the spirit of the law if not the letter its Cabinet.

      • Anon says:

        1:47 pm: ge was convicted of “convincing a 14 year old of sending him a naked photo of herself.”

        Not a “sex crime”? You want to split hairs about violating the moral—and legal—boundaries of our society?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Unless the CIAA is a public authority as defined by ECHR he can take his ‘human rights’ complaint and stick it.

  14. Naya Boy says:

    Like Alden said they are here for US????he just forgot to tell you about the threats they pose to our children?

  15. PPM Distress Signal says:

    OOOH you all try hush especially all you PPM voters. This is what happens when your government allows the wishes and whims of the minority to supersede the rights of local people and then brainwash many of their followers into believing that diversity pose no threat to them.Keep going Ato Stephens assert your rights maybe some might just get it now and finally wake up to this deception.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Sometimes its just better to understand that you have lost the trust that you need to do the job, and pursuing it like this, albeit that you may technically have a point, is just going to make it worse.

    • Anon says:

      11:09 am: Mr. Stephens has no point, techical or otherwise! He just gives us a huge window into his character. The more I hear about him the less I like.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Time for the other victims to come forward and put him back in jail. #metoo

  18. Local track parent says:

    This Government led by Premier Alden McLaughin and his Cabinet members Moses Kirkonnell, Tara Rivers, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Joey Hew, Roy McTaggart and Dwayne Seymour must be auditioning for the circus as a bunch of clowns! They have now emboldened Ato Stephens with their collective flip flopping. What more evidence and recommendations from the Grand Court do they require to deport in the best interests of the Cayman public a delusional sexual predator and convicted criminal like Ato Stephens?

    Do you think this would fly in his native Trinidad or USA where he originally fled to as a citizen and had to be extradited from to face charges? XXXXX

    This has become a national embarrassment and the Cabinet members have made a pigs ear of a very simple Grand Court recommendation. Have they no shame or pride or understanding of protecting the public interests? What exactly must one be convicted of in order to be deported from the Cayman Islands because being of poor character and a threat to youngsters on whom Ato Stephens preyed upon does not constitute anything negative enough to enforce the Immigragtion Laws of the Cayman Islands based on Cabinet decision to date?

  19. Anonymous says:

    What a loser

  20. Anonymous says:

    He should shut his pie hole and be glad they not deporting him. Waste of space


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