ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – Courtney Andrews says she was waiting for the day her convicted rapist would be sentenced, when the years of fear and stress and sleepless nights would be over.
But on Wednesday, she and her family left the courtroom confused and angry, and Wednesday night, Andrews got little sleep.
Andrews, now 20, testified that her former friend and neighbor, Austin Clem, sexually abused her when she was 13-years-old, then raped her twice when she was 14, and again at 18.
The jury convicted Clem of one count of Rape in the 1st degree, and two counts of Rape in the 2nd, on September 11th.
During sentencing in Limestone County on Wednesday, Judge Jimmy Woodroof chose to “split” the sentence, requiring that Clem only serve two years in the community corrections program and three years on supervised probation.
“Yeah people know who he is, and that he’s dangerous, but he still gets to do what he wants. He gets to work, be with his kids, be with his family, live life,” said Andrews.”It just smacks me in the face. It’s like you did all of this and put your stoyr out there for him just to walk. and it hurts.”
Andrews recalls, when the sentence was read her attorney jumped up, questioning the legality of the sentence for a Class A Felony, but Woodroof stood by the sentence.
Our news partners at Al.com report, according to Alabama law, first-degree rape, a Class A felony, would have a sentencing range 10 to 99 years in prison. Second-degree rape, a Class B felony, has a range of two to 10 years in prison. Judges do have the option to “split” a sentence.
Andrews and her family say they are trying to determine what steps to take next.
“I get to go back to Mobile, but my family has to stay here,” said Andrews. “I shouldn’t have to worry about my family over a guy that hurt me so badly because he’s not in prison where he needs to be. Because really that’s all that’s going to save anybody from him.”