The Illinois judge, who caused outrage after reversing an 18-year-old man’s conviction for sexual assault last week, has been removed from handling criminal cases.
Adams County Judge Robert Adrian was reassigned to civil cases such as small claims and probate documents in an administrative order issued Thursday by Chief Justice Frank McCartney of the Eighth District Court. (Quincy) Herald-Whig reported.
It happened after Adrian faced heat for throwing the verdict on Drew Clinton, who was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at a graduation party in May last year.
The judge issued the astonishing turnaround during Clinton’s sentencing on Jan. 3, saying the nearly five months the teenager spent in county jail were “plenty of punishment.” Clinton had faced a mandatory minimum sentence of four years.
The judge had led the three-day trial in October and found Clinton guilty of one of three charges of sexual assault.
He said he overturned the conviction to avoid an appeal that he believed would be successful, and therefore ruled that the prosecutors had not “proved their case.”
The prosecutor in the case, Anita Rodriguez, said she had never before seen a judge reverse a decision like this and was concerned about how it could affect the victim.
Adrian’s decision was immediately repulsed by advocates of sexual assault survivors, forcing the victim to go public and emotionally recalling the horrific moment she woke up to be sexually assaulted.
“I woke up at my friend’s with a pillow over my face so I could not be heard and Drew Clinton inside me,” Cameron Vaughan said Tuesday. WGEM reported.
“I asked him to stop several times and he would not. Eventually I got up off the couch and pushed him off 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 verdict could cause her daughter to spiral into a mentally “dark place.”
“To say we are completely shocked and stunned is an understatement,” she said.
“I worry when the smoke settles and things get quiet that it will take her to a dark place. It’s a constant worry.”
The despairing mother said her daughter changed completely after the assault. Her grades dropped, she left the track team and went so far as to try to take her own life.
She told The Post that the judge “pulled the blanket completely out from under her.”
“The judge felt since he was 18 and had no previous criminal record that five months is enough,” Vaughan said.
“And it’s not long. He was found guilty and he had to serve four years and at least 85 percent of the time… That’s the law.
“This reopened all the wounds, and it’s heartbreaking, because after her assault, she attempted suicide.”
A petition urges Adrian to be charged for “abuse of judicial discretion and power” had garnered more than 23,000 signatures late Friday night.
According to The Herald Whig, an agitated Adrian told a prosecutor before him in a separate case about getting out of his courtroom after the lawyer “liked” a Facebook post that was 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 his case and that the evidence was not strong enough to justify a conviction.
With Post wires
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