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Adams County Judge Robert Adrian reversed his own verdict and ruled that prosecutors failed to prove Drew Clinton, 18, sexually assaulted Cameron Vaughan, 16, saying five months in prison was enough of a punishment for the teen
An Illinois judge reversed his own decision to convict a teen accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in May, saying five months in custody was punishment enough.
Adams County Judge Robert Adrian said it would not be right to sentence Drew Clinton, 18, to prison for allegedly raping Cameron Vaughan during a graduation party in Quincy.
‘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,’ Adrian said 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.’
Rather than carry out the minimum four-year sentence for sexual assault, Adrian instead ruled that the prosecutors had failed to prove their case, effectively setting Clinton free and hindering any chance for prosecutors to appeal the decision.
Vaughan, who broke her silence on Tuesday, said the judge’s decision made her fight for justice seem pointless.
‘He made it seem like I fought for nothing, and that I put my word out there for no reason,’ she told WGEM.
‘I immediately had to leave the courtroom and go to the bathroom. I was crying.’
Cameron Vaughan, of Quincy, said she was sleeping on a coach at a graduation party when Drew Clinton assaulted her. She said the judge’s decision to not sentence Clinton left her feeling like she spoke out for nothing
Vaughan’s father, Scott, (left) said the judge’s decision has left his daughter devastated. He said that while his daughter enjoyed school and running on the cross country team, she has now dropped all sports and cannot bring herself to return to school
Vaughan also recounted what occurred at the graduation party, where she fell asleep on a coach after minors were allegedly drinking and swimming around in their underwear.
‘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 said.
‘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.’
Her father, Scott, said his daughter has been devastated ever since the alleged sexual assault and feels heartbroken by the judge’s surprise decision.
‘She was a cross-country runner, she ran in track, she was an honor roll student,’ he said.
‘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.’
During the trial, Adrian ultimately blamed parents for what happened at the party and suggested sexual assault was only natural when parents hold ‘parties for teenagers, and they allow coeds and female people to swim in their underwear in their swimming pool.’
Assistant State’s Attorney Anita Rodriguez, who prosecutes sex crimes for the county, told the Herald-Whig that she has never seen a decision like this in her 40-years as a lawyer.
‘My heart is bleeding for the victim,’ Rodriguez said. ‘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.’
The judge’s decision faced immediate ire from advocates of survivors of sexual abuse, calling Adrian’s actions ‘abuse of judicial discretion and power.’
The local Quincy Area Network Against Domestic Abuse criticized Adrian’ decision on Facebook. Adams County prosecutor Josh Jones liked the post on Tuesday, leading Adrian to kick the lawyer out of court on Wednesday
The local Quincy Area Network Against Domestic Abuse slammed Adrian through a Facebook post on Tuesday, writing: ‘The verdict and Adrian’s comments send a chilling message to other rape victims that their behavior, not the rapists’, will be judged. Shame the victims, free the rapists.’
The post was liked by Adams County prosecutor Josh Jones, who was thrown out of court on Wednesday by Adrian for liking it, Muddy River News reported.
‘Mr. Jones, get out,’ Adrian said, startling the prosecutor who was in court for status hearings on a series of felony cases.
‘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.’
Jones told Muddy Rivers News that he was merely supporting victim’s rights and had expressed no ill will towards the judge.
‘We obviously have to and want to support victims in all cases,’ he said.
‘I have not made any comment publicly, privately or otherwise about Judge Adrian and the decision. I’m not going to. That’s not my role.’