In the latest example of how New York state has utterly lost its way in regard to what is considered a crime worthy of significant punishment, an adult man who admitted to raping an underage girl just received a light slap on the wrist and was allowed to go free with minimal punishment.
A county judge in New York sentenced a 26-year-old school bus driver to a mere 10 years of probation and no time in prison as part of a plea deal in which he admitted to raping a 14-year-old girl who rode on his route.
Probation and Level 1 offender status
The Watertown Daily Times reported that in addition to the 10 years of probation, Shane Piche was also ordered to register with the state for an unspecified period of time as a Level 1 sex offender.
A Level 1 sex offender is generally considered to be an individual who presents a low risk of re-offending, and as such, their names aren’t included in the online searchable database of sex offenders.
The district attorney who prosecuted the case had asked that Piche be registered as a Level 2 sex offender, but Judge James McCluskey decided that since Piche had no prior criminal record and the rape to which he pleaded guilty was an isolated incident, the Level 1 designation would be sufficient.
Piche worked as a bus driver for the Watertown City School District and met his underaged victim in that capacity. He has since parted ways with the district and is no longer a bus driver.
He allegedly took the young victim to his place of residence and provided her with alcohol ahead of the sexual assault. In addition to the charge of third-degree rape, to which he pleaded guilty, Piche also faced first-degree charges of unlawfully dealing with a child and endangering the welfare of a child.
On top of the probation and mandatory
Sentence draws strong reactions
Of course, Piche’s lawyer, Eric Schwartz, was pleased with the sentencing outcome for his client.
Schwartz told WWNY-TV, “He’ll be a felon for the rest of his life. He’s on the sex offender registry for a long time. Maybe not the rest of his life because of the level, but this isn’t something that didn’t cause him pain and this isn’t something that didn’t have consequences.”
The victim’s mother, however, saw things quite differently, and in a statement provided to the media outlet, wrote, “I wish Shane Piche would have received time in jail for the harm he caused to my child. He took something from my daughter she will never get back and has caused her to struggle with depression and anxiety.”
This adult male admitted to raping an underage minor girl who rode on the school bus he drove. Yet, the disgraceful judge saw fit to essentially pardon a child rapist and allow him to walk free with no time behind bars and the minor inconveniences of probation and potentially temporary registration as a low-level sex offender.