Watertown Daily Times, WWNY

Ex-School Bus Driver Will Not See Jail Time After Raping 14-Year-Old Girl

For the most part, it doesn't take much convincing for people to understand why major crimes are harmful to society and therefore, punished appropriately.

For instance, if somebody makes it their mission to kill people, the public can only feel safer after they're locked away.

However, while debate over how we treat some crimes certainly exists, most people will agree that once those crimes cause harm to children, they cross a line there's no coming back from.

Unsplash | Emiliano Bar

This is a debate that's not up for discussion.

And so, when it seems like someone is getting off easy for doing that, it's easy to understand why this would spark outrage.

Unsplash | Matthew Ansley

This is a case that happened fairly recently.

Until earlier this year, 26-year-old Shane Piche was a bus driver for the local school district in Watertown, New York.

Reddit | amatorsanguinis

According to the Watertown Daily Times, he had met an unidentified 14-year-old girl on his route.

As CNN reported, Piche established contact with the girl on social media.

Through this avenue, Piche invited the girl to his home, where he reportedly plied her with alcohol before raping her.

Reddit | ernz_ernz

According to CNN, prosecutors were seeking a combination of jail time and 10 years of probation for Piche so he could have a better understanding of boundaries and how to control his urges.

For this reason, he will receive sex offender counselling and treatment during his probation period.

Unsplash | Matt Popovich

This is the case even though he pleaded guilty to third-degree rape.

By this point, Piche's employment with the bus company had ended in connection with the crime.

Reddit | funkyfunksy

The Watertown Daily Times also reported that he now has three no-contact protection orders issued against him and is not allowed to be alone with anyone under 17 years of age.

However, Piche will not receive any jail time for for his actions and will instead just serve the 10 years of probation.

Watertown Daily Times

As the Watertown Daily Times reported, he was also ordered to pay $375 in court fees and an additional $1,000 for a sex offender registration fee.

Apparently, his lack of jail time has to do with the fact that he was charged with third-degree rape.

Unsplash | Carles Rabada

As Assistant Prosecutor Patricia Dziuba told CNN, that he has a low-risk for re-offense because it wasn't a violent sexual assault.

In New York, this crime is mostly age-based and can allow for an unconditional discharge in which a defendant is fined and then released.

WWNY

As the Watertown Daily Times reported, Judge James P. McClusky also decided that Piche will have to register as a Level 1 sex offender, which means he is considered to be at low risk of re-offending.

His reasoning? Piche has no prior arrests and there was "only" one victim in this case.

In practical terms, there are significant differences between being a Level 1 sex offender and being in the higher rankings.

Reddit | RedditorofAzkaban

According to the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services, Level 1 offenders must stay on the registry for 20 years, while higher-level offenders remain there for life.

It also means they have to submit their address and appearance to officials less often than higher offenders.

Unsplash | Sergi Kabrera

They neither appear on the registry's online database, nor do they have to provide the address of their employer.

However closely it follows New York's state laws, Judge McClusky's sentencing decision and reasoning have proven to be unpopular online.

WWNY

This had lead to the circulation of a petition calling for him to be removed from the bench, which has attracted over 45,000 signatures thus far.

Others suspect that Piche's ethnicity influenced his sentencing and point to similar cases where non-white defendants received greater sentences.

One named Yunuen Trujillo broke this difference down in a chart and although she acknowledged that these cases occurred in different states, she also points to nationwide sentencing guidelines that judges are supposed to take into consideration.

However, regardless of the reason Piche received the sentence he did, the girl's mother wished he had received jail time.

Unsplash | Volkan Olmez

In a statement obtained by WWNY, she said, "He took something from my daughter she will never get back and has caused her to struggle with depression and anxiety."