|1st Mayor of Pitcairn Islands|
7 December 1999 – 8 November 2004
|Succeeded by||Brenda Christian|
26 June 1951|
|Spouse(s)||Olive Jal Brown (m. 1972)|
Christian was the Mayor of the Pitcairn Islands, a British dependency in the Pacific Ocean, from 7 December 1999 to 30 October 2004. He also acted as the island's supervising engineer, dentist, radiographer, and as coxswain of the longboat, which is described as Pitcairn's umbilical cord to the outside world. He was formally dismissed from office on 30 October 2004, following his rape conviction on 24 October.
Christian is a patrilineal descendant of Fletcher Christian, leader of the mutineers in the late 18th century on the HMS Bounty, a story told in the 1932 Nordoff and Hall novel Mutiny on the Bounty, and several subsequent motion picture versions. He is the son of Ivan Roa Christian and Verna Carlene "Dobrey" Young, a descendant of Ned Young. Ivan Roa Christian is the son of Richard Charles Edgar Christian and nephew of Charles Richard Parkin Christian, and is the grandson of Francis Hickson Christian. Public respect for Steve Christian's lineage gave him considerable influence long before he held political office, first as a member of the Island Council in 1976. He again served on the Council in 1982, and was briefly Chairman of the Internal Committee (considered the second-most influential political position on the island) in 1985. He was to hold this position again in 1991 and 1992, 1994 and 1995, and 1998 and 1999, when he was elected as the island's first mayor. The title was new but the office was not: the mayor had previously been known as the magistrate.
He married Olive Jal Brown in 1972 and they have four children: Trent, Randy, Shawn and Tania.
The sexual assault trial
In 2004, Steve Christian, along with six other men, was tried on charges of rape and child sexual abuse by the Pitcairn Supreme Court. Over the course of the trial, it was alleged that Christian repeatedly raped or assaulted a number of island women, including his children, over a period of several years – using the remoteness of the island and his position of power to coerce their silence. Christian denied all accusations of impropriety, but admitted having consensual sex with several of his children. Christian pleaded not guilty to all charges of rape and indecent assault, but on 24 October 2004, he was convicted of committing five rapes between 1964 and 1975. He was acquitted of a sixth rape charge and of four indecent assault charges.
On 8 November 2004, Christian's sister Brenda, the island's sole police officer, was elected by the Island Council to succeed him in an interim capacity, pending elections scheduled for 15 December, when Jay Warren, the acquitted former magistrate, was elected mayor.
As mentioned above, Christian is a descendant of the Pitcairn Island mutineers. This can be seen in the pedigree below.
|Ancestors of Steve Christian|
- Fickling, David (26 October 2004). "Six found guilty in Pitcairn sex offences trial". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- "Six guilty in Pitcairn sex trial". BBC News. 25 October 2004. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- "6 men convicted in Pitcairn trials". The New York Times. 24 October 2004. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- Lines, Chris (1 July 2006). "UK: Court dismisses key part of Pitcairn appeal". AAP General News Wire.
- Birkett, Dea (29 October 2004). "Island of Lost Girls". The New York Times. p. A.25.