An Illinois judge is facing heat for reversing an 18-year-old man’s sexual assault conviction at the teen’s sentencing last week – saying the 148 days he spent in jail since his arrest was enough, reports said.
Adams County Judge Robert Adrian issued the stunning reversal last Monday after finding Drew Clinton guilty of one count of criminal sexual assault at an October bench trial, the Herald-Whig reported.
“Mr. Clinton has served almost five months in the county jail, 148 days,” Adrian said, according to a court transcript obtained by the newspaper.
“For what happened in this case, that is plenty of punishment. That would be a just sentence.”
Clinton was convicted of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at a graduation party last May.
He had faced a mandatory minimum sentence of four years. Adrian’s decision came after Clinton’s attorneys filed two post-trial motions and the judge ruled prosecutors failed to prove their case, the newspaper reported.
Following Adrian’s ruling, the distraught victim went public with her story – recounting the sexual assault to reporters and detailing her emotional reaction when she learned Adrian was set free.
“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,” said Cameron Vaughan, WGEM reported.
“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 said.
Vaughan said she “immediately” left the courtroom and cried in the bathroom after learning Clinton’s conviction was tossed.
The Quincy Area Network Against Domestic Abuse on Tuesday blasted the judge’s decision.
“The verdict and Adrian’s comments send a chilling message to other rape victims that their behavior, not the rapists’, will be judged,” the group said in a statement to WGEM.
“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 described his daughter’s devastation in an interview with the Herald-Whig.
“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 told the newspaper.
“Now she wishes she wouldn’t have even said anything.”