CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois judge who sparked outrage by overturning a man’s conviction for rape involving a 16-year-old girl has been removed from office after a judicial watchdog found he skirted the law and engaged in bad behavior.

The Illinois Courts Commission on Friday removed Adams County Judge Robert Adrian after holding a three-day hearing in Chicago in November on a complaint filed against Adrian.

Their decision says Adrian “engaged in multiple instances of misconduct” and “abused his position of power to satisfy his own sense of justice while evading the law.”

The commission could have issued a reprimand, censure or suspension without pay, but its decision said it had “ample grounds” to immediately remove Adrian from his position in Adams County in western Illinois.

In October 2021, Adrian had convicted Drew Clinton, 18, of Taylor, Michigan, of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl during a graduation party in May 2021.

The state Judicial Board of Inquiry filed a complaint against Adrian after the judge overturned Clinton’s conviction in January 2022, with the judge saying the 148 days Clinton had spent in prison were punishment enough.

The complaint said Adrian had acknowledged that he was supposed to impose the mandatory four-year sentence against Clinton, but that he would not send him to prison. “That’s not fair,” Adrian said at the sentencing hearing, according to court transcripts. “I won’t do that.”

Clinton was accused of sexually assaulting Cameron Vaughan. The Associated Press does not typically name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly.

Vaughan told The Associated Press in November, when she was 18, that Adrian’s overturning of the Clinton verdict left her “completely shocked” but determined to remove the judge. She attended the November commission proceedings with family, friends and supporters.

After Adrian threw out Clinton’s conviction, Vaughan said the judge told the court that “this is what happens when parents allow teenagers to drink alcohol or swim in pools with their underwear on,” he recounted in an account. supported by a judicial transcript of the ruling. January 2022 hearing.

Adrian’s action sparked outrage in Vaughn’s hometown of Quincy, Illinois, and beyond, and the prosecutor in the case said his “heart bleeds for the victim.”

Vaughan told the Chicago Tribune after Friday’s decision to remove Adrian that he was “very happy that the commission could see all the bad things and all the lies that he told all along. I’m incredibly happy right now. He can’t hurt anyone else. “You can’t ruin anyone else’s life.”

When reached by phone Friday, Adrian told the Chicago Tribune that the commission’s decision to remove him is “totally a miscarriage of justice. I did the right thing. I’ve always told the truth about it.”

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

But in Friday’s decision, the commission wrote that it found that Adrian’s claim that he “revoked his guilty plea based on his reconsideration of the evidence and his conclusion that the State had failed to prove its case was a subterfuge: the defendant’s attempt to justify revocation.” post-hoc.”

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

By Sam