Pictured – Ato Stephens former track coach and his wife who is also CIAA secretary and previous president of the association. Many are now calling for her resignation.
(CMR) Convicted track coach has threatened the Cayman Islands Athletic Association (CIAA) with legal action for banning him from the association.
In what is seen as a brazen move Ato Stephens had decided to threaten the CIAA with legal action should they not reinstate him to the organization. Stephens was banned at an executive meeting in November last year based on the constitution for the organization. Our exclusive CMR sources indicate that his own wife was part of the unanimous decision to have him banned at the time.
Now, Stephens is claiming he was entitled to a hearing before any decision should have been taken to ban him. He further claims he wants to be reinstated and that his human rights have been violated under the ECHR, UK Human Rights Act 1998 and the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009.
He states that:
“The Regulation C, Section 7 applies to disciplinary actions for sexual misconduct. Unfortunately this does not apply to me, since I was never convicted of any sexual offenses and was acquitted of the charges in a court of Law. Thus any action of decision by CIAA under Section 7 are null and void in my case.”
He further claims that president, Lance Barnes, has acted unlawfully by initiating disciplinary proceedings against him.
He further claims that:
“The action of CIAA is also in violation of my rights to freedom of association protected under Section 11 of Human Rights Act 1998. As my membership with the CIAA has not been renewed from September 2016, with that being said, please noted that I'm a private residence on this island, and as such the CIAA has no right to whom I am associated with.”
Ironically his wife would now be responsible for responding to him on behalf of CIAA. In what appears to be a clear conflict of interest this is precisely why people have called for her resignation from the association. Our sources further indicate the letter was sent via email and all executive members were include EXCEPT FOR his wife.
Ato Stephens was sentenced to 18 months in prison in the Cayman Islands, after being found guilty of misuse of an ICT network, at the end of a trial regarding allegations that he acted inappropriately with a 14-year-old female athlete. However, Stephens has been found not guilty of two counts of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency.
The judge said that based on the evidence presented in court, he had found enough inconsistencies to cause reasonable doubt regarding the gross indecency and indecent assault charges. The prosecution had claimed that Stephens had requested nude photos from the teenager who he trained. The judge also noted there was a lack of investigation by the police when the issue was first raised, including that some witnesses were only interviewed close to the trial.
Pictured: Copy of the letter sent to CIAA Committee Members
His letter concludes with:
“Through this letter I am informing you that I reserve the right to initiate legal proceedings against the CIAA for taking unlawful actions in violation of its own constitution and the violations of my human rights protected under the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009. I seek immediate withdrawal and annulment of the said proceedings in the first instance in an official CIAA letter. I await your responds within 7 days, before taking the necessary legal actions are taken.”
During the trial, police interviews from the girl were played in court. In those, she detailed how he sent her WhatsApp messages requesting nude and semi-nude photos. She said she sent some of her wearing only her underwear but never nudes. Stephens acknowledged he did this and apologized, saying he was not sure what motivated him to do so.
Stephens, 38, represented Trinidad and Tobago at multiple Olympics and is married to Cayman Islands sprint queen Cydonie Mothersill, who won gold in the 200m at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
As an athlete, Stephens represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics but never advanced beyond the heats. He also ran at the IAAF World Championships in 2001, 2005 and 2007. He won a bronze medal for his home country at the 2003 CAC Championships, and took the silver at the 2005 edition.
He was banned from competition for two years after failing a drugs test at an international competition in May 2009, testing positive for Oxandrolone and Stanozolol, both steroids, as well as Tamoxifen, a testosterone-boosting drug.