Coach’s indecent assault trial begins

The trial of track and field coach Ato Stephens got underway in the Cayman Islands Grand Court on Thursday, 27 July, on allegations that he acted inappropriately with a teenager who was a member of his club.

Stephens faces charges of gross indecency, indecent assault, and two charges of using an ICT network to abuse, annoy or harass by sending indecent messages.

Justice Michael Wood is hearing the judge-alone trial. Evidence opened with recorded interviews the alleged victim gave to members of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service’s Family Support Unit.

Ato Stephens being escorted from court on 21 Feb. (Photo courtesy: Cayman 27)

In those interviews, the girl said Stephens started messaging her via WhatsApp, initially having conversations about her performance as an athlete. She said this then moved on to him requesting picture of her in her underwear, which he allegedly said would help him to relax.

In all, she said she sent him about 20 pictures over the course of two years but never any nudes, despite him asking her for that type of photo. She said she sent the pictures because she feared being kicked off the track team.

The judge heard that it was the norm for Stephens to give athletes rides home from training but would take the victim home last. She said on multiple occasions he would expose himself to her, and ask her to touch him inappropriately. The girl also alleged that the coach touched her privates on more than one occasion.

The allegations came to light when the girl’s mother discovered pictures on the girl’s phone and raised questions.

Stephens, who represented Trinidad and Tobago at multiple Olympics left the country before he was arrested or charged. He was extradited from Florida in February 2017 and has been detained at HMP Northward since then. He denies the allegations against him.

The trial continues.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Track coach apologises, denies touching teen – Cayman Sports Buzz

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