Drew Clinton, 18, was found guilty of raping a16-year-old at a graduation party in Quincy, Illinois, in May 2021.
He pleaded guilty to all charges against him and his defence claimed he believed the sex was consensual.
But despite the October conviction for felony sexual assault, Adams County Judge Robert Adrian on 3 January ruled that prosecutors had not proved their case – overturning his own previous ruling and effectively preventing the teenager from being tried again (under Double Jeopardy rules).
“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,” Judge Adrian said in court.
“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.”
On hearing the decision, the suvivor, who revealed her identity in order to speak out about the case and campiagn for justice, said she fled the courtroom.
“I immediately had to leave the courtroom and go to the bathroom. I was crying,” she said, according to WGEM.
“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.
“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.
Now, the girl and her family are speaking out about what they consider to be a miscarriage of justice by Judge Adrian, while numerous people online have shared the hashtag ‘StandwithCammy’ and a Change.org petition demands the judge face charges over “abuse of judicial discretion and power”.
“Judge Robert “Bob” Adrian was the judge who ruled Drew S. Clinton is guilty of criminal sexual assault,” the statement on the page reads.
“However, on January 3, 2022, this very same Judge Adrian reversed his own ruling and declared the defendant was not guilty.”
It adds: “They say that Judge Adrian reversed his own ruling because he simply did not want to hand down the sentence that is associated with the crime to which he himself had already found the perpetrator guilty. That is not how the law is to operate.
“Judge Adrian does not have the authority to change the law because he wants to. His job is to uphold and defend the law.”
The petition, which has been signed by almost 9,000 people, also shares a comment the judge made in court about the girl’s parents.
“This is what happens when parents do not exercise their parental responsibilities, when we have people, adults, 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 said. “They allowed 16-year-olds to bring liquor to a party. They provided 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.”
His comments have been slammed by the petition organisers, as well as by the girl and her parents, who have accused Judge Adrian of blaming them for the sexual assault.
“What a low blow. You have just basically not given my daughter any justice,” the girl’s father told Muddy River News.
“I have sat by my daughter’s bedside for three, four months, five months. … She is not well from this. Way too many things happened to say this did not happen. While this guy’s ripping me, as a parent, what was I supposed to do?
“Pardon my language, but I feel like I was s**t all over by this judge.”
Despite the ruling, the survivor has pledged to keep fighting for justice. “It’s scary to come out and talk about this, especially when a judge make this kind of decision,’ she said in an interview with DailyMail.com
“What happened to me isn’t something that happens, and we have to keep fighting for justice.”