Illinois judge who threw out teen rape conviction reassigned to civil cases amid outrage

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Judge Robert Adrian has been reassigned to civil matters after drawing outrage for reversing an 18-year-old man’s sexual assault conviction last week, claiming that the 148 days he spent behind bars was punishment enough for allegedly raping an unconscious girl at a graduation party.

Adrian was reassigned to civil matters such as small claims and probate dockets in an administrative order that was issued Thursday by Chief Judge Frank McCartney of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, according to the Herald-Whig.

“We think it’s a step in the right direction,” the mother of the victim told CBS News on Friday. “We want the verdict changed, reversed.”

The judge found himself in hot water after he nixed the conviction of Drew Clinton, who was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl named Cameron Vaughan last May.

“Mr. Clinton has served almost five months in the county jail, 148 days,” Adrian stated. “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,” the judge 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, engendering widespread outrage. “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,” he charged.

The reversal came after Adrian had presided over Clinton’s three-day bench trial in October where he was found guilty on one of three sexual assault charges. He claims he reversed the ruling because an appeal would be successful and that prosecutors had failed to “prove their case.”

A petition calling for Adrian to face charges for “abuse of judicial discretion and power” received more than 23,000 signatures as of Friday night.

(Video Credit: NBC News)

Anita Rodriguez, who was the prosecutor in the case, was shocked and claimed she had never seen a judge in her 40-year career reverse a ruling like this before.

Advocates for sexual assault survivors slammed the judge over his ruling. The victim also felt it necessary to go public over the perceived miscarriage of justice. Cameron Vaughan emotionally retold her version of the horrifying incident.

“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,” she asserted, 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 recalled.

Cameron’s mother, Rachael Vaughan, spoke with the New York Post on Thursday. She’s concerned about the victim’s mental status.

“To say we’re completely shocked and stunned is an understatement,” she admitted. “I worry when the smoke settles and things get quiet that it’ll take her to a dark place. It’s a constant worry.”

Vaughn told the media outlet that Adrian had “completely pulled the rug out from beneath her.”

“The judge felt since he’s 18 and had no prior criminal record, that five months is enough,” the mother commented. “And that’s not long. He was found guilty and he was supposed to serve four years and at least 85 percent of that time … That is the law.”

Adrian’s criminal court docket was assigned to Judge Scott Larson until further notice according to the Herald-Whig.

Judge McCartney also ordered several cases Adrian was presiding over to be transferred to different judges in the circuit court. If a case moves to a jury trial, McCartney ordered that all judges other than Adrian be assigned to hear the case as it appears on the jury calendar.


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