Re-sentencing ordered for man convicted of rape but no jail time - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Re-sentencing ordered for man convicted of rape with no jail time

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CENTRAL ALABAMA -

 

 

An Alabama man convicted of 3 counts of raping a teenager gets a community program as his punishment.  His victim is now 20 years old. We usually do not identify rape victims, but she wants to tell her story in hopes of encouraging harsher punishment for violent crimes. 

Many believe the up-roar prompted the judge to order a re-sentencing.

"He was dating a girl that lives next door and she is someone I was friends with and looked up to," Courtney Andrews said.

The attacks started when Courtney was 13.

"Pinning me to an area to where he's standing in front of me and I have no where to go," Andrews said.

Courtney says, her attacker, Austin Smith Clem threatened to kill her if she told.

"I finally broke down," Andrews said. "I couldn't handle it on my own anymore. I was so tired of crying myself to sleep every night."

"She called me crying and hysterical, she couldn't breathe, I've never in my life heard her sound like that before," Rita Pfaff, Courtney's childhood friend said. "When she told me it happened again, I was like, I'm telling your parents. I'm not going to witness my best friend live in silence and fear and agony. I refuse. I wouldn't be your friend if I let you do that."

"That's really the word that cuts the deepest," Andrews said. "My dad was like, 'hold on, are you guys talking about rape?' And we just nodded our heads."

The court date brought even more pain as Courtney had to re-count every attack to a jury.

"That's been my secret, that's been my life for as long as I can remember," Andrews said. "So that was really hard."

After being convicted of three counts of felony rape, Judge James Woodruff didn't give Clem any jail time.

"We just cried again because it was like it's not over yet and we thought that was the day that it would be," Pfaff said.

"I feel like that's why a lot of people don't come forward," Andrews said. "The fear of nothing being done, facing your attacker." 

She says, it's the state-wide outrage that may have led to a re-sentencing and hopefully a change.

'They know that the person who attacked them is in prison and they can finally have that peace knowing that  they are finally safe again," Andrews said. 

 

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