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Illinois judge Robert Adrian who reversed Drew Clinton’s sex assault conviction removed from criminal cases

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.”

Drew Clinton’s sexual assault conviction was tossed out in court.
Drew Clinton’s sexual assault conviction was tossed out in court.
QHS Football

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. 

The family of Cameron Vaughan were left "shocked" and "stunned" with Judge Robert Adrian's decision.
The family of Cameron Vaughan was left “shocked” and “stunned” by Judge Robert Adrian’s decision.
WGEM

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

About the author

Donna Miller

Donna is one of the oldest contributors of Gruntstuff and she has a unique perspective with regards to Science which makes her write news from the Science field. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from Science. Donna has 3.5 years of experience in news-based content creation, and she is now an expert at it. She loves journalism, and that is the reason, she moved from a web content writer to a News writer, and she is loving it. She is a fun-loving woman who has very good connections with every team member. She makes the working environment cheerful which improves the team’s work productivity.

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