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Judge is removed from the bench after reversing a man’s rape conviction for the brutal assault of a 16-year-old girl



An Illinois judge who reversed a teen’s sexual assault conviction for raping a sleeping 16-year-old has been removed from the bench.



The Illinois Courts Commission removed Adams County Judge Robert Adrian from the bench last Friday after it held a three-day hearing in Chicago following a complaint against him.



Adrian had found then-18-year-old Drew Clinton of Taylor, Michigan, guilty of sexually assaulting 16-year-old Cameron Vaughan during a May 2021 graduation party in October


But at the sentencing hearing, months after his conviction, Adrian said the boy had served ‘plenty’ of time behind bars, 148 days, and that while he couldn’t sentence him to time served, he could overturn the verdict and set him free.



The decision from the court’s commission said Adrian ‘engaged in multiple instances of misconduct’ and ‘abused his position of power to indulge his own sense of justice while circumventing the law.’



The state Judicial Inquiry Board filed a complaint against Adrian after the judge threw out Clinton’s conviction in January 2022.



Cameron, now 18 years old, waived her right to anonymity and said she passed out drunk in the basement and woke up to find Clinton sexually assaulting her while holding a pillow over her face.



Clinton claimed they had consensual sex and that she was not as drunk as she claimed she was.

At the time, the judge said: ‘He has no prior record, none whatsoever. 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. 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.’



According to the state’s law, Clinton should have served a minimum of four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.



The commission could have issued a reprimand, censure, or suspension without pay, but its decision said it had ‘ample grounds’ for immediately removing Adrian from the bench in western Illinois’ Adams County.



The complaint said Adrian had acknowledged he was supposed to impose the mandatory four-year sentence against Clinton, but that he would not send him to prison.



Adrian was also accused of lying under oath about his reasons for reversing the conviction and of kicking out a prosecutor from the courtroom after they liked a social media post critical of the judge.



The judge told the prosecutor: [‘I don’t get on social media, but my wife does, and she saw the thumbs-up you gave to people attacking me … I can’t be fair with you. Get out.’



According to court transcripts, after he reversed Clinton’s conviction, Adrian blamed parents and adults for ‘having parties for teenagers, and they allow coeds and female people to swim in their underwear in their swimming pool. And, no, underwear is not the same as swimming suits.’



He added: ‘It’s just — they allow 16-year-olds to bring liquor to a party. They provide liquor to underage people, and you wonder how these things happen. Well, that’s how these things happen. The court is totally disgusted with that whole thing.’



Vaughan told the Chicago Tribune following Friday’s decision that she was ‘very happy that the commission could see all the wrong and all the lies that he told the entire time. I’m so unbelievably happy right now. He can´t hurt anybody else. He can’t ruin anyone else’s life.’


Adrian said that the decision to remove him is ‘totally a miscarriage of justice. I did what was right. I’ve always told the truth about it.’



Adams County court records show that Clinton’s guilty verdict was overturned because prosecutors had failed to meet the burden of proof to prove Clinton guilty.



But in Friday’s decision, the commission wrote that it found Adrian’s claim that ‘he reversed his guilty finding based on his reconsideration of the evidence and his conclusion that the State had failed to prove its case to be a subterfuge – respondent’s attempt to justify the reversal post hoc.’



Clinton cannot be tried again for the same crime under the Fifth Amendment. A motion to expunge Clinton’s record was denied in February 2023.