A New York judge gave no jail time to a man who admitted he raped a teenage girl

WWNYShane Piche
  • A former New York bus driver who admitted to raping a teenage girl on his bus route was not given any jail time by the judge presiding over the case.
  • Judge James McClusky sentenced 26-year-old Shane Piche to 10 years probation and required him to register as a Level 1 sex offender – the lowest level status in the state’s sex offender registry.
  • The teenager’s mother told WWNY in a statement that “I wish Shane Piche would have received time in jail for the harm he caused to my child.”
  • Lucian Chalfen, the New York State Office of Court Administration’s director of public information, told INSIDER that the court, prosecution, and defence all agreed with McClusky’s sentencing. He said the judge’s chambers “have received numerous vitriolic calls regarding the case, the vast majority from out of state.”
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

A rape survivor’s mother is in shock after a New York judge granted leniency to a 26-year-old man who pleaded guilty to the third-degree rape of her teenage daughter.

In February, Shane Piche, who was formerly employed as a bus driver in the school district in Watertown, New York, admitted to raping the 14-year-old girl, who was on his bus route. In a February 2019 interview with WWNY, the girl’s mother alleged that Piche bought her daughter gifts and invited her and other minors to his home, where he provided them with alcohol and then raped the teen.

Despite that, however, Jefferson County Judge James McClusky handed Piche no jail time in court last week. Rather, he sentenced Piche to 10 years probation and required him to register as a Level 1 sex offender – the lowest level status in the state’s sex offender registry. McClusky found Piche’s punishment adequate because he had no prior arrests and there was only one victim involved in his plea, reported the Watertown Daily Times.

“I wish Shane Piche would have received time in jail for the harm he caused to my child,” the victim’s mother wrote in a statement provided to WWNY. “He took something from my daughter she will never get back and has caused her to struggle with depression and anxiety.”

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), the majority of rapists never go to jail or prison, with only 4.6 out of 1,000 perpetrators of sexual violence ever incarcerated.As noted by The Washington Post, Piche’s sentencing aligns with other controversial sentences that have been carried out across the country dealing with sexual assault. For instance, in 2016, former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner received a six month jail sentence after being convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, igniting indignation across the country from people upset with the California judge who had ordered the sentence.

Turner ultimately only served three months in jail, due to good behaviour, and that judge, Aaron Persky, was recalled from his judgeship.

Lucian Chalfen, the New York State Office of Court Administration’s director of public information, told INSIDER that the court, prosecution, and defence all agreed with McClusky’s sentencing. He said that the maximum state prison time that Piche could have received was up to four years.

“Judge McClusky was well within the sentencing range on a negotiated plea conviction of this type,” Chalfen said. “The defendant is now a convicted sex offender who will spend the next decade on a very onerous and intrusive sex offender probation and have to register as a sex offender.”

Under McClusky’s ruling, Piche cannot be left alone with anyone under 17 years old, and he will also be required to pay $US375 in court fees and a $US1,000 special sex offender registration fee. His attorney, Eric Swartz, told the Daily Times that McClusky no longer works at the bus company.

Chalfen told INSIDER that the judge’s chambers “have received numerous vitriolic calls regarding the case, the vast majority from out of state, by individuals who know nothing about the facts and circumstances of the case, thanks to social media.”

“Judicial independence is a cornerstore of our society,” he said. “Removing judges from handing down sentences that some may disagree with cuts both ways, leaving us with no process of accountability.”

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