Alabama man, Austin Smith Clem, gets no jail time for multiple rapes of teen neighbor

[dropcap]J[/dropcap]ust when you thought progress was being made on this kind of evil an Alabama judge falls off the bench and hits his head.

Austin Smith Clem child rapid

Austin Smith Clem (Athens, AL, police department)

From, Athens man convicted by Limestone jury on 3 counts of raping teenager:

A man accused of raping a teenage acquaintance was convicted by a Limestone County jury this afternoon, according to District Attorney Brian Jones.

After deliberating for just under two hours, the jury returned with guilty verdicts for one count of first-degree rape and two counts of second-degree rape against 25-year-old Austin Smith Clem, Jones said. Clem will be sentenced Nov. 13 in Limestone County Circuit Court.

From RH Reality check on Austin Smith Clem avoiding jail:

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.

In other words, the jury did its job but the judge has no spine. That would be Circuit Judge James Woodroof who sentenced Clem to community corrections and probation, letting him avoid state prison time.

The jury foreman called the judge’s decision “very disturbing.” Indeed.

And from Mother Jones on Clem’s attorney, Dan Totten:

“It would seem to be relatively mild,” Totten tells Mother Jones. “But [Clem’s] lifestyle for the next six 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 eight or nine miles from his house, and buy a lottery ticket, he can’t do that…It’s not a slap on the wrist.”

But a slap on the wrist is exactly what it is.

He cannot go to a party. Boo hoo.

He cannot drive to Tennessee. Boo hoo.

He has to live a controlled life. Boo hoo.


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

Of course not. Not a chance.

Thankfully The DA in the case is attempting to have the sentence overturned. We can all pray toward that end.


Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.

  • Karen Dial

    Oh, the depth of sexual abuse here in the South is staggering. Rarely is there ever a conviction. Every case that I dealt with in North Carolina as a Guardian ad Litem contained sexual abuse…yet no convictions because the crimes are not immediately reported, and the system just doesn’t fight for it. Where is the justice? Now, in your post, you get the conviction, but no justice in the sentencing. Shame on the judge. Look how God deals with rape in the Bible. Why such wrath against this sin? Because unlike an apathetic judge, God himself feels the pain, shame, dishonor, violation, and isolation of the victim. The OT prophets rebuked
    the judges of the land repeatedly, and today Marty, you did the same.

  • Nick Falvo

    he was 18-19 when they were dating and she was 13-14 and then they messed around again when she was 18 and he was 23…

    When he wouldn’t leave his child’s mother, the scorned girl then cried rape as a way to get back at him…

    The judge knew all this and heard all the testimony during the trial and made the right call…

    • martyduren


      You say he was 18-19 and she was 13-14, then “they messed around again…” Rape is not “messing around,” as you put it.

      Alabama Penal Code:

      13A-6-62. Rape in the second degree

      A male commits the crime of rape in the second degree if :

      Being 16 years old or older, he engages in sexual intercourse with a female less than 16 and more than 12 years old; provided, however, he is at least two years older than the female.

      What you call messing around, the law calls rape. The age fits the crime. The jury recognized it; the judge was a fool. Thankfully, he has now agreed to re-sentence.