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Illinois Judge Robert Adrian is being slammed for his stunning reversal of 18-year-old Drew Clinton’s rape conviction, proclaiming that the 148 days he spent behind bars was punishment enough for his heinous crime.
The ruling was handed down last Monday after Clinton was found guilty on one count of criminal sexual assault in October, according to the Herald-Whig. He was found not guilty of two other counts of criminal sexual assault.
“Mr. Clinton has served almost five months in the county jail, 148 days,” the Adams County judge stated, according to a court transcript. “For what happened in this case, that is plenty of punishment. That would be a just sentence.”
“By law, the court is supposed to sentence this young man to the Department of Corrections. This court will not do that. That is not just,” Judge Adrian ruled on January 3. “There is no way for what happened in this case that this teenager should go to the Department of Corrections. I will not do that.”
“This is what’s happened when parents do not exercise their parental responsibilities, when we have people, adults, having parties for teenagers, and they allow coeds and female people to swim in their underwear in their swimming pool,” Adrian lectured. “And, no, underwear is not the same as swimming suits. It’s just – they allow 16-year-old to bring liquor to a party. They provide liquor to underage people, and you wonder how these things happen.”
“Well, that’s how these things happen. The Court is totally disgusted with that whole thing,” the judge concluded.
Clinton allegedly raped a 16-year-old girl named Cameron Vaughan at a graduation party in May. He faced a mandatory minimum sentence of four years which many consider far too lenient, to begin with.
Clinton’s attorneys filed two post-trial motions. The presiding judge ruled prosecutors failed to prove their case, the Herald-Whig reported.
Vaughan went public with her story after Adrian’s ruling. She painfully recounted what he allegedly did to her at the party to reporters, expressing the emotional toil the sexual assault has taken on her and the shock of Clinton walking free.
“Drew should be in prison if it wasn’t for that stupid judge. His decision is unexplainable,” Vaughan told the Daily Mail.
“I woke up at my friend’s place with a pillow over my face so I couldn’t be heard and Drew Clinton inside of me,” Vaughan claimed, according to WGEM.
“I asked him to stop multiple times and he wouldn’t. I finally got off the couch and pushed him off of me and he jumped up and just started playing video games as if nothing had happened,” she charged.
Vaughan reportedly fled the courtroom to the bathroom where she broke down in tears after Clinton’s conviction was overturned.
“The verdict and Adrian’s comments send a chilling message to other rape victims that their behavior, not the rapists’, will be judged,” the Quincy Area Network Against Domestic Abuse declared in a statement given to WGEM on Tuesday. “Shame the victims, free the rapists. This judgment reinforces the fact that standards for women have always been impossibly high while they are impossibly low for men.”
Vaughan’s father was enraged over the judge’s decision.
“It’s worse now than it was [before], because not only does she not have her justice, but now she feels like she spoke up for nothing, and you know that hurts,” the father angrily remarked. “Now she wishes she wouldn’t have even said anything.”
“She was a cross-country runner, she ran in track, she was an honor roll student,” he told WGEM. “Now, she’s lucky to carry a C average and she’s dropped out of all sports. All of her learning is at home now. She can’t go to school.”
Adams County Assistant State’s Attorney Anita Rodriguez, who prosecutes sex crimes, asserted that she has never had a verdict reversed like this in her 40-year career and has no explanation for it.
Once more, a judge in our system provides a very clear explanation of why survivors don’t come forward. https://t.co/SrRuFVPsjW
— Rep. Kelly Cassidy (@RepKellyCassidy) January 12, 2022
“My heart is bleeding for the victim,” Rodriguez told the Herald-Whig. “It was a very difficult bench trial. It did a lot for her healing process, but now she’s back to where we were at.”
Clinton claimed the sex was consensual.
In a rebuttal on Monday, Rodriguez noted that the girl awoke to a pillow being pushed on her face as she was assaulted, and at no time did she give consent.
“In fact, earlier in the evening she had specifically indicated that she did not want any sexual contact with this defendant,” she stated.
“He put the blame on the victim, and he erased everything that we have put her through counseling for,” claimed Vaughan’s stepmother.
“And he may not have meant what he said, the way that he said it, but the way that several people interpreted it was ‘It’s your fault. You got drunk. It’s your fault. You went skinny dipping. It’s your fault,’” her father clapped back.
“We are scared to death that she’s going to do something,” Vaughan’s stepmom worried. “She’s depressed. She’s sad, and she’s already attempted suicide because of what (Clinton) did to her anyway, so we are just terrified.”
According to the Muddy River News, this same judge kicked a prosecutor out of his court on Wednesday because of a “thumbs up” on Facebook.
“Mr. Jones, get out,” Adrian exclaimed as he angrily ordered Josh Jones of the Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office to leave the courtroom. Jones was set to appear in an unrelated case but had apparently “liked” a Facebook post supporting domestic violence survivors following Adrian’s outrageous ruling in the rape case.
“I’m not on social media, but my wife is,” Adrian said. “She saw the thumbs-up you gave to people attacking me.”
“I can’t be fair with you today. Get out,” he ordered.
The backlash against the judge over the reversal was massive:
How much do U want 2 bet that Adams Cty Judge Robert Adrian (guy who reversed his own conviction of a rapist b/c boys will be boys & he didn't want 18 yo rapist 2 serve mandatory sentence of 4 yrs) has at least 1 "incident" in his past? This POS needs 2 b removed from the bench.
— Puck (@Puck07896013) January 13, 2022
Complaints against a judge can be filed here https://t.co/h1V3TkR49O
— 𝔼𝕝𝕝𝕖𝕟 (@ellenwidom) January 13, 2022
This is appalling. That 18year MAN raping the drunk unconscious girl is what is not just. I am disgusted by this judge and broken hearted for the victim! Stay strong! You are believed
— Jen Maiers (@jenmaiers) January 13, 2022
Get this guy OFF THE BENCH! https://t.co/XybyhcdNvF
— 🇺🇸 Right MATTERS 🌊 (@Gypsygoddess1) January 13, 2022
“I can’t be fair with you today.” is an indication of lack of judicial temperament. He needs to be gone.
— Frank Crotzer (@thecaptain1701e) January 13, 2022
This is a story abut a rapist and an enabling judge.
Absolutely disgusting excuse of a man.
— Mark 🗺️ (@markofbattersea) January 13, 2022
Disgusting. This man is a rapist. He hasn’t even spent 5 months in jail.
Meanwhile, the girl that he raped will be living with this trauma for the rest of her life. This girl has been victimized twice- first by the rapist, then by this terrible excuse for a judge.
— Amy Brewster (@amybrewster2016) January 13, 2022
Really? He had a pillow over her face. What is she had also suffocated to death. Screw this POS judge.
— Iris246 (@Iris2465) January 13, 2022
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