Tuesday 27 October, 2020

‘She was seeking comfort'- Coach Stephens admits to sexting

Track coach, Ato Stephens, who appeared in court on Monday, on charges of indecent assault,gross indecency and abusing an ICT network, admitted to 'sexting' with a teenage girl.

Sexting is sending, receiving or forwarding explicit messages or images between two people.

Stephens, during cross examination by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Cheryll Richards, told the court that the teenage girl, whom Stephens' suggested may have had a 'crush on him', started to come to him for comfort after she failed to medal at a track meet in Atlanta. 

"She was coming to me and seeking comfort," said Stephens.

"I console her like how I would console other athletes," added Stephens.

Stephens was then asked about a June 29, 2015 text message, in which the teen had asked if he had "still wanted the pictures".

When asked by the DPP if he had requested the pictures that the teen was referring to prior, Stephens responded, " Yes".

Stephens further admitted to asking the teen to shift her underwear so he could see her private parts.

The subject matter of private parts,  which had everyone cringing, was further discussed as the DPP further asked about another incident in which the coach described the teen's private parts as "fat".

Stephens revealed that the picture being referenced was a photo of the teen from the Six Flags amusement park in the United States.

The DPP read the text from Stephens which reads,  "I was trying to take a picture of **name with-held** but all I got was a picture of your fat front."

Stephens also messaged that he had wanted to Skype with the teen but he could not get to. 

Justice Wood then interjected with a question asking, "What did you want to use skype for?" 

"I wanted her to show me herself," responded Stephens. 

Justice Wood then asked, "What exactly did you want to see?"

"Her in her underwear," Stephens responded. 

The court further heard more uncomfortable text message exchanges, that were particularly hard for some to listen to, including a text message sent on July 19, 2015.

 "I'm coming back to taste the goodies and fly back out, so make sure you are not on your period," read a text message from Stephens.

The DDP then pressed Stephens for answers as she asked, “What goodies were you coming back to taste?

Stephens responded that he was talking about some pictures that she had sent to him.

Justice Wood then asked, "What does that have to do with her period? Were you not referring to sexual interaction with the victim?

To which Stephens responded, "Yes"

However, in further questions Stephens denied any physical contact with the teen, and noted on many instances that he “couldn’t recall the context of the conversations”.

"Did you carry out your intentions,” asked Richards pointedly.

"No," responded Stephens. 

However, Stephens denied having any physical contact with the young woman.



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