The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 27, 2013

BREAKING: Limestone judge decides to re-sentence convicted rapist

By Jean Cole
jean@athensnews-courier.com

ATHENS — A Limestone County judge has decided to re-sentence a convicted rapist whose lack of jail time had sparked public outcry.

Circuit Judge Jimmy Woodroof Jr. filed a brief order Tuesday in Limestone County Circuit Court stating he would re-sentence Austin Smith Clem, 25, of Athens. No date or time for the re-sentencing was given.

Following a three-day trial in September, a Limestone County jury convicted Clem on three counts of rape involving Courtney Andrews, a family friend, babysitter and neighbor, who was ages 14 and 18 when the rapes occurred.

In October, Woodroof had suspended Clem's jail time and sentenced him to serve four years in the Limestone County Community Corrections Program — a probation program that allows participants to maintain job and go home every day — followed by three years of supervised probation, and to register as a convicted sex offender.

Deputy District Attorney Jim Ayers Jr. had stated at the October sentencing hearing that Clem had a juvenile record of sodomy involving a boy.

Following the sentencing on the rapes, the victim, the district attorney's office and others were outraged by the lack of jail time. The district attorney's office contended the sentence on one of the rape convictions was illegal under Alabama law, and District Attorney Brian Jones filed an appeal with the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. The court had agreed to review the sentence.