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The Illinois judge who sparked outrage after reversing an 18-year-old man’s sexual assault conviction last week has been removed from handling criminal cases.
Adams County Judge Robert Adrian was reassigned to civil matters such as small claims and probate dockets in an administrative order issued Thursday by Chief Judge Frank McCartney of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, according, the (Quincy) Herald-Whig reported.
It came after Adrian faced heat for tossing out the conviction of Drew Clinton, who was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at a graduation party last May.
The judge issued the stunning reversal during Clinton’s Jan. 3 sentencing hearing, saying the almost five months the teen spent in county jail was “plenty of punishment.” Clinton had faced a mandatory minimum sentence of four years.
The judge had presided over the three-day bench trial in October, finding Clinton guilty of one of three sexual assault charges.
He said he reversed the conviction in order to avoid an appeal that he believed would be successful, therefore determining that prosecutors had failed to “prove their case.”
The prosecutor in the case, Anita Rodriguez, said she had never before seen a judge reverse a ruling like this and was concerned on how it could affect the victim.
Adrian’s decision drew immediate backlash from advocates for sexual assault survivors and compelled the victim to go public, emotionally recalling the horrifying moment she woke up to being sexually assaulted.
“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 on Tuesday, 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.
Cameron’s mother, Rachael Vaughan, told The Post on Thursday that she’s concerned that the overturned conviction may cause her daughter to spiral to a mentally “dark place.”
“To say we’re completely shocked and stunned is an understatement,” she said.
“I worry when the smoke settles and things get quiet that it’ll take her to a dark place. It’s a constant worry.”
The distraught mother said her daughter completely changed following the assault. Her grades fell, she quit the track team and went as far as attempting to take her own life.
She told The Post that the judge “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,” Vaughan said.
“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.
“This opened up all the wounds again, and it’s heartbreaking because after her assault, she attempted suicide.”
A petition calling for Adrian to face charges for “abuse of judicial discretion and power” had garnered more than 23,000 signatures as of late Friday night.
According to The Herald Whig, an agitated Adrian told a prosecutor before him in an separate case to get out of his courtroom after the attorney had “liked” a Facebook post critical of his decision.
Clinton’s attorney, Drew Schnack, said he agreed with the judge’s decision. He argued that the prosecution did not prove its case and that the evidence was not strong enough to warrant a conviction.
With Post wires
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