A victim’s family thought their daughter’s trauma was over when her rapist was brought to justice. But she was traumatized again when a judge made a controversial ruling.

Cameron Vaughan of Quincy, Illinois, was just 16 years old when she attended a graduation party in May 2021. Vaughan claims the party was at her friend’s house, so when she’d had enough of the night’s action, she went to a bedroom to go to sleep.

“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 told The Sun.

“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.”

Drew Clinton, 18, had no criminal record prior to the incident. He had been in the county jail since late July 2021. In October that same year, Judge Robert Adrian found Clinton guilty of one count of criminal sexual assault in a judge-only trial in October. Clinton was sentenced to four years and was required to serve 85% of that sentence. But later the judge switched gears, saying the teen had served enough time because he had no prior record.

In January of 2022, Judge Adrian released Clinton from prison. “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,” he said at the time.

“Mr. Clinton has served almost five months in the county jail, 148 days. For what happened in this case, that is plenty of punishment.”

The judge then went on to attack the parents who allowed the party to happen for “allowing” teens to “swim in their underwear in their swimming pool” and “allowing” alcohol. This is despite DNA evidence proving the attack and Clinton himself confessing.

“You wonder how these things happen?” he said.

“Well, that’s how these things happen.”

Vaughan had to leave the courtroom because of how devastated she was by the judge’s decision. The former A student-athlete has since given up sports and taken to homeschooling after being bullied by other students at Quincy High School over the incident. She also tried to die by suicide in the more immediate aftermath of the attack.

Since the January 3 decision, Judge Adrian has come under fire by victims’ advocates and local prosecutors. On January 13, an administrative order filed by Chief Judge Frank McCartney of the Eighth Judicial Circuit reassigned the judge to small claims, legal matters and probate dockets, and other civil cases, effective immediately.

“He blamed everyone except Clinton,” the Quincy Area Network Against Domestic Abuse (QUANADA) said in a statement.

“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. This judgment reinforces the fact that standards for women have always been impossibly high while they are impossibly low for men.”

Note: If you or any of your loved ones are struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can always reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255. They are available 24/7 by phone or online chat.

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