Coach remanded on sex offence conviction

| 23/05/2014

(CNS): A local man was remanded in custody on Thursday afternoon as he awaits a Grand Court decision on the length it time he will serve in connection with a sex crime against a teenage girl whom he was coaching at a local sports club. The 33-year-old man is charged with defilement after having sex with her when she was just 13 and he was 31, and possessing an indecent image of a child as he had videoed the two of them having sex. The crime came to light when the teen had a row with her parents and she told them about what she believed was a consensual, loving, relationship with her coach, who is 18 years her senior. Following the teen’s revelations, the man was arrested and he admitted his guilt.

Appearing before Justice Charles Quin on Thursday afternoon, the man, who cannot be named due to a court order restricting the publishing of any information that could identify the teenager, was told that a custodial sentence was inevitable. He was remanded in custody after being on bail for many months, having been arrested in March 2013.

The court heard that the young teen, who is now 15, and her family have all suffered a very difficult time since the crime came to light. The teenager has since been sent overseas to school as a result of the harassment she and her family have suffered after exposing the coach, who appears to be well-liked by other parents and players at the sports club.

As a result of the sensitivity of the case, the crown revealed little about it in open court, though the judge was supplied with all of the evidence and relevant documentation. The court heard that the teenage girl did not believe herself to be a victim and was anticipating that she and the coach would be revealing their relationship as soon as she was 16.

However, the crown said that the video image found on the coach’s phone when he was arrested had been made without her consent.

Outlining the aggravating circumstances of the case, the crown said the case was a very clear breach of trust, as the man was the teen’s coach, and there was also the disparity in their ages to consider.

In mitigation, the man’s attorney said her client accepted full responsibility and did not wish to diminish what had happened, but she pointed out that this was a consensual situation and he too had considered it to be a real relationship. The lawyer said her client had pleaded guilty at the outset and had cooperated fully with the police. He was of previous good character, held a job for some 14 years and was held in high regard in the community.

A social enquiry report revealed a harrowing background for the coach, who had been subjected to sexual and physical abuse when he was young, and that this was “a classic case of the abused becoming an abuser”.

Despite his own appalling upbringing, the coach had, however, taken a positive path in life and this was the first time he had done anything wrong. The lawyer explained that the coach had genuinely started out wanting to help the teenager, who was going through a difficult time. But he acknowledged it went too far and that it was a “monumental error of judgment that will cost him everything”.

The lawyer pointed out that there had been no intervention to save him from his abuser and no therapeutic help available to him as he was growing up. To compound matters, a programme that was recommended by the probation service for the coach to undertake is not available in the Cayman Islands.

The court also heard that the coach is a father of two, and although separated from hischildren’s mother, the pair have an amicable relationship and he is very active in his children’s lives, providing for them financially as well. The lawyer noted that sending her client to jail, which she acknowledged was inevitable, would add to the number of people who will be hurt by the offence.

Justice Quin remanded the coach into custody and said he would deliver his verdict on the sentence on Tuesday 27 May.

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Category: Crime

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