(CMR) Community members are outraged to now understand that Ato Stephens will be remaining in the Cayman Islands indefinitely. Despite a deportation order from the courts, convicted child molester Ato Stephens will be allowed to remain in the Cayman Islands because of a Cabinet decision.
Ato Modibo Stephens was to be deported following his sentence last year for convincing a 14-year-old girl to send him topless photos of herself. Stephens faced several other serious charges, but the judge found there was not sufficient compelling evidence to convict him of those – in part because of poor police investigations into the matter.
However, the Ministry of Home Affairs has confirmed that he will be allowed to remain here despite Judge Michael Wood's recommendation.
Stephens was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment on Aug. 3, 2017, but only served a fraction of that because of time spent in custody whilst awaiting extradition in the United States.
CMR has made numerous requests into why he was still on the island. Initially, in December, the Administrator of the Conditional Release Board, sent the following:
“Pursuant to the Conditional Release Law 2014, any prisoner serving a term of imprisonment of more than one year is eligible to apply to the Conditional Release Board for release on licence after serving sixty percent of their sentence, which may in some cases include time spent remanded in custody prior to conviction or sentence. The Board have access to all of the relevant documents relating the offence and the prisoner, including in-depth reports from the Department of Community Rehabilitation, and consider the application with regard to the protection of the public, the likelihood of reoffending, the extent to which the prisoner's rehabilitation can be safely carried out in the community, and the likelihood of the prisoner complying with the terms of a licence. In the event that a prisoner is released, they are subject to supervision during the period of their licence and may be returned to prison in the case of breach.
All matters as it relates to Immigration are referred to and dealt with by the Immigration Department.
I hope that this explains the process adequately; as you will appreciate, the Board cannot comment on the circumstances of particular cases or decisions that have been made.”
Despite this lengthy response, it was unclear how and why Stephens was still in the Cayman Islands. Ministry of Home Affairs Chief Officer Wesley Howell this week confirmed the Cabinet decision that allowed Mr. Stephens to remain in Cayman.
“The Immigration Law (2018 Revision) empowers the courts to recommend that a deportation order should be made in relevant cases, either in addition to or in lieu of sentence,” Mr. Howell’s statement read. “Ultimately, the decision to authorize deportation rests with the Cabinet. Such decisions are taken after consideration of the facts and circumstances in each particular instance.
“With regard to Mr. Stephens’ case, when weighing all of the circumstances, including the nature of the offense for which he was convicted, and the fact that he has a Caymanian spouse and two Caymanian children, the Cabinet is not considering making a deportation order in this instance at this time.”
According to U.S. court records, Mr. Stephens is originally from Trinidad and Tobago, but he also is an American citizen.
Numerous persons have contacted CMR since then, complaining that he now resides in Savannah within a quarter mile from an elementary school. Others have wondered how he will be able to find employment given his track and field and coaching background. The local track association CIAA confirmed they banned him in November from having any affiliation with the association despite the fact that his wife is the current secretary.
Many community members are outraged by this decision, including one local male activist who stated:
“WTF are the PPM Cabinet thinking?
This decision proves they cannot empathize or understand the views of the majority of the public…imagine if the crimes were committed against their family members or close friends…I wonder would the decision by Cabinet be the same?
This girl has to live in this community with that monster she was the only one of many (ALLEGEDLY) who stood up! The government chose to protect him and fail the population… he will re offend as this was the only time he made a mistake that they caught etc.
So we blame the police … We blame the prosecutors … We blame the judges … and when all of them do they job the elected representatives let us down.”
Parents are outraged and the following message has been circulating on social media:
Parents and members of CIAA – make your voices me heard that Cydonie is supporting her pedophile husband and keeping him in the Cayman Islands to likely torment more girls. Don't pay your dues, write to Lance Barnes, CIAA president and start a petition to remove her as Secretary.
You cannot have your cake and eat it too. IF she wishes to support her husband that sends a clear message about her mental state and while we cannot control what she exposes her own children too no other children should honestly have to deal with her or him for that matter.
SPEAK UP … SPEAK OUT!!! Time we become outraged about something in the country! Ato is a citizen in 2 other countries and I understand she has US citizen too. Despicable.