A judge in Illinois is facing flak for reversing the conviction of an 18-year-old who in October was found guilty of raping a girl at a graduation party in Quincy city.
Adam county judge Robert Adrian paved the way for Drew Clinton’s release after he spent less than five months in jail.
The judge, who reversed the conviction on 3 January, said Clinton had received “plenty of punishment”.
“Mr Clinton has served almost five months in the county jail,” said the judge, according to the court transcript.
“For what happened in this case, that is plenty of punishment,” he added.
A person convicted of rape in Illinois is handed a minimum sentence of four years.
Court documents showed Judge Adrian had said a mandatory minimum sentence imposed by state statute would be inappropriate, after a pair of motions was submitted by Clinton’s attorney.
Clinton was convicted in October last year for raping a 16-year-old girl at a graduation party in May.
“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,” the survivor said on Tuesday, reported 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 said.
The survivor called the judge’s decision devastating and said she broke down after hearing the reversal.
“I immediately had to leave the courtroom and go to the bathroom. I was crying,” she said.
The judge had convicted Clinton on one count of criminal sexual assault during the trial of the case that took place in October.
The survivor’s father said his daughter, who was once a shining student and had a bright record, is now facing a setback in her academic and extra-curricular life.
“She was a cross-country runner, she ran in track, she was an honour 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,” he added.
The judge’s decision to cut short Clinton’s jail sentence has sparked widespread outrage.
The Quincy Area Network Against Domestic Abuse, in a statement on Tuesday, asked survivors to avoid Judge Adrian’s courtroom.
“Women in Adams County should be angry and afraid. One message is clear: If you are raped, avoid Judge Adrian’s courtroom,” the nonprofit said.
“After she fell asleep on the couch, Clinton raped her. He put a pillow over her face so she couldn’t be heard. And that is OK with Judge Adrian who reversed his earlier decision, and then blamed the parents of the house where the party took place, the girl for drinking and swimming in her underwear and her parents whom he said ‘did not exercise their parental control,” the statement added.
“He blamed everyone except Clinton.”
The verdict and the judge’s remarks sent “a chilling message to other rape victims that their behaviour, not the rapists’, will be judged,” the statement further said.
“Shame the victims, free the rapists,” it added.
Judge Adrian had, on Wednesday, dismissed a state prosecutor in an unrelated case because he had “liked” a comment on Facebook critical of the judge after the ruling, according to the Associated Press, citing the Herald-Whig newspaper.
“I can’t be fair with you,” Judge Adrian told the county prosecutor. “Get out.”
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