Alabama Man Convicted of Raping Teen Neighbor Will Serve No Jail Time

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An Alabama man convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl will serve no jail time, despite being guilty of a felony that mandates at least a ten-year sentence.

Austin Smith Clem, 25, was convicted of raping Courtney Andrews, who is now 20, twice when she was 14 and once when she was 18. reports that he also sexually abused her when she was 13. A jury convicted him on one count of first-degree rape and two counts of second-degree rape. First-degree rape, a class A felony, carries a ten- to 99-year sentence, according to the Alabama code, while a second-degree rape carries a two- to ten-year sentence.

Clem was sentenced to 20 years on the first-degree rape charge and ten on each second-degree charge, but he won’t serve time in prison unless he violates the terms of his sentencing. The judge “split” the sentence in such a way that Clem will only serve two years in a community corrections program for non-violent offenders, followed by three years of probation. He will also have to register as a sex offender, report to a corrections officer on a weekly basis, and pay $2,381 in fines and restitution.

The sentencing order against Clem mandates that he have no contact with Andrews’ family, but Andrews, who allowed her name to be published, told that she feared for her family’s safety if Clem was allowed free.

Defense attorney Dan Totten told Mother Jones, “[Clem’s] lifestyle for the next 6 years is going to be very controlled … If he goes to a party and they’re serving beer, he can’t say, ‘Can I have one?’ If he wanted to go across the Tennessee line, which as the crow flies is 8 or 9 miles from his house, and buy a lottery ticket, he can’t do that … It’s not a slap on the wrist.”

Andrews said she was “livid” about the sentencing, and recalled Chief Deputy District Attorney Jim Ayers jumping out of his seat and saying, “This isn’t legal. It’s not a legal sentence.”

Totten claimed that Andrews’ continued social relationship with Clem and his family after the rapes cast doubt on whether the attacks were “forcible.” But Clem and his family were neighbors and family friends, and Andrews told that she didn’t tell her parents after the first incidents because Clem threatened their lives. She finally had a friend tell her parents after the final incident in 2011.

Totten also told Mother Jones that he was childhood friends with the judge, but didn’t feel that affected the ruling.

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  • fiona64

    The majority of sexual assaults are committed by someone whom the victim knows. Knowing the assailant doesn’t mean the victim was unharmed/was not raped.

  • painkills2

    Basing the sentence on a prejudice about whether victims and their attackers socialize is, well, just bizarre.

  • cjvg

    Raping her “twice when she was 14 and once when she was 18. reports that he also sexually abused her when she was 13.”

    “Totten claimed that Andrews’ continued social relationship with Clem and his family after the rapes cast doubt on whether the attacks were “forcible.” But Clem and his family were neighbors and family friends”

    Because it is just so easy to move away when your 14 or 13 year old!
    Please note that the rape that took place when she was 18 (older and less intimidated) led to her going to the cops and filling a rape complaint!
    But America does NOT have a rape culture?!, and dogs don’t bark!

    • L-dan

      “It’s not a slap on the wrist.”

      It’s also not in line with the actual sentencing laws. There’s a report making the rounds elseweb detailing cases of a number of people imprisoned for life without parole due to mandatory sentencing laws despite rather minor offenses. And then we get this.

      Given his repeated attacks, shouldn’t he be considered a community risk? I mean, I’m sure that would violate the conditions of his parole and (maybe) actually land him in jail, but that’s not going to be much solace to the new victim.

      In fact, reading the article, he has three daughters. How could someone send a known child molester home to a house with young children unless they believed that the person wasn’t actually guilty of the rapes he was convicted of. That sends a loud, clear message that the judge believes that this wasn’t actually rape, despite the jury’s conviction and despite the fact that she was not old enough for meaningful consent under the laws in most states (not sure about AL).

      So much hate.

      • Sally Strange

        He should be considered a risk. Based on research about actual rapists’ behavior, he fits the pattern of a serial repeat offender. Most rapes are committed by men like him, who groom vulnerable victims, use threats of force rather than outright beatings, commit multiple rapes, and who start to rape when they are teenagers. It’s a safe bet that he will go on to assault someone else.

        • CJ99

          Up here in canada there are laws dealing with those who are at high risk of commiting more crimes upon release. Those like Paul Bernardo won’t be getting out early on parole. If you are unaware of him he was a notorious serial rapist & murderer in the early 90’s.

  • Gahe

    Incidents and also related to ethical, appropriate punishment for those who truly responsible.

    • CJ99

      nothing about the way the courts behaved is the least bit “responsible” its unfetter rape apologism.

  • dance commander

    I am so relieved that pregnant women and those guilty of simple pot possession get tougher sentences than child rapists!

  • Bitchyfrontdeskclerk

    why does this not surprise me.. a perfect letting a pervert go free.. because that has to be the only reason a judge would let a man go free after knowing convicting him of F&&&CKING a little girl.. seems the judge wants to do this also. men got to stick up for each other ya know..

  • CJ99

    Whats so astoundingly moronic is that the rapist convicted of multiple rapes on the same underage girl gets 2 years probation for “nonviolent offenders” what next? murder becomes petty larceny?

  • kater7

    My first thought when reading this actually had nothing to do with the sentence – it was that IF this girl had to go to this judge because she was pregnant from her rapist and wanted an abortion that her parents wouldn’t consent to, he would probably have ruled against her. I don’t know that as a fact, of course. It was just my first impulsive thought.

    • whatareuthinking

      I agree – and don’t forget many states grant visitation rights to rapists, saying that their crime should not interfere with their “parental rights”. Women should be warned that in these states they should keep quiet about a pregnancy because of rape, or they could spend the next 18 years interacting with their rapist. Scary.

      • cvxxx

        That is true emotional abuse.

  • Arakiba

    So raping a child won’t get you jail time in the deep south these days…

  • Justme

    Not a slap on the wrist?? BS. Was the judge a man? Its stated his attorney was childhood friends with the judge. That should have been a conflict of interest! Once again the men stick together to protect each other and another one gets away with MULTIPLE rapes! Poor girl. There’s no such thing as justice anymore. Child molesters and rapists are getting off way too easy! I say cut off their junk. Sicko’s like this don’t deserve to see the light of day.