Thu | Dec 2, 2021

Aussie police confirm Richie Stephens rape case closed

Other artiste recalls stumbling on visibly shaken accuser; no lawsuit coming as attorney won’t throw away money

Published:Monday | October 4, 2021 | 12:07 AMKimone Francis/Senior Staff Reporter
Richie Stephens
Richie Stephens
Elaine Lim, aka General Ling.
Elaine Lim, aka General Ling.
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Australian authorities say a criminal investigation that was opened after Jamaica’s music ambassador Richie Stephens was accused of sexual abuse in 2019 is closed, despite an insistence by alleged victim Elaine Lim that she was raped by the reggae...

Australian authorities say a criminal investigation that was opened after Jamaica’s music ambassador Richie Stephens was accused of sexual abuse in 2019 is closed, despite an insistence by alleged victim Elaine Lim that she was raped by the reggae artiste.

Responding to a Gleaner query about the alleged incident — which is said to have occurred in Melbourne in November that year — then investigating officer Detective Senior Constable Amanda Hill said the case had been wrapped.

“Given the circumstances of this matter, I do not wish to comment other than the investigation is closed,” the detective told The Gleaner via email on Sunday.

Her comment follows a 25-minute-long video uploaded to YouTube by Lim on Friday in which the Singaporean claimed that she was assaulted by Stephens.

Stephens, whose real name is Richard Stephenson, has flatly denied the allegations.

According to the woman, who said she had celebrated her 27th birthday mere days before the alleged incident, she was part of the ‘Jamaica Flava’ world tour headed by the singer and was managing several aspects.

She said her first encounter with the artiste, however, occurred in 2018 in Singapore, when he allegedly tried to stick his tongue down her throat.

Lim said despite being startled at the time, as a sheltered Asian, she was taught to respect guests.

The woman said she reported what had happened to her friend and recording artiste Masia Lim, who goes by the moniker Masia One.

“Initially when he did that to me, I just closed my mouth [and] didn’t allow it,” she said.

A year later, Lim, Stephens, and Masia shared space at an AirBnB during the tour.

She said that it was at that time that the assault allegedly took place between November 12 and 13.

“We trusted him enough that no funny business was going to be tried when I was left alone with him,” said Lim, insisting that Stephens took advantage of their being alone.

Lim, who said that she filed a police report immediately after the alleged incident, suggested that she was denied justice following the investigation, mentioning that in Singapore, an accused is considered guilty until proven innocent.

“I don’t trust justice by criminal law because in Australia, it is innocent until proven guilty. In Singapore, however, it is guilty until proven innocent,” she said.

But in a swift response to Lim, the Jamaican uploaded a three-minute-long video to the platform noting that her allegations were “baseless” and that the Australian police had cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Stephens was initially detained but subsequently released.

He said Lim was, at best, seeking recognition and was warped in her thinking and insisted that her allegations only served to reduce the plight of sexual assault victims.

“I am a very serious supporter of bringing sexual predators to justice but her allegations are simply not true. There are people with serious issues as a result of sex crimes. So, when people like her come with all these lies, it does not help the movement,” he said.

Masia, who spoke with The Gleaner on Sunday, said that she returned to the AirBnB following a studio session to a visibly shaken Lim.

The artiste said upon her arrival, Lim appeared reserved and made limited eye contact, choosing instead to stare at the floor.

She said Lim, who she had employed as a personal assistant for the tour, also did not speak much and showered several times that morning.

“She looked hurt, and so I asked her to tell me what’s up. She just shook her head, but tears started coming from her eyes. I told her I would not force her to tell me what happened, but asked if she would like to see a doctor, and she said, ‘Yes,’” Masia shared.

She said that it was after visiting a local clinic that her employee was referred to a hospital where she could have a rape kit done.

“From there I realised what had happened and so I decided that we could not return to that place and stay in the same quarters as someone that she was alleging that sexually assaulted her. So we stayed with a friend far away from the AirBnB,” she recalled.

Masia said Lim reported the alleged incident to the police the following day.

She said at that point, she called the promoter of Stephens’ tour to notify them that she would not continue to participate.

“I have not spoken to him (Stephens) since that time,” she said.

Meanwhile, Stephens’ lawyer Christopher Townsend told The Gleaner that there was incontrovertible independent evidence supporting his client’s version of what occurred.

“So the police never pursued it in terms of for prosecution. There are things that you really can’t divulge and it’s really in an effort not to fuel the situation and as much as possible to try and be kind to her. We really are not interested in a fight with her. We suspect that there are issues that she is dealing with that have nothing to do with Mr Stephenson,” the attorney-at-law said.

He said also that his client will not be filing a defamation suit, noting that crossborder litigation was an expensive venture.

“It may not be worth it any at all, because the truth is, her version is fraught with inconsistencies and the fact that a credible authority has deemed it without merit, it doesn’t make sense that we go ahead and throw good money after something that is absolutely ridiculous,” said Townsend.

kimone.francis@gleanerjm.com