File photo: Used in U.S. Court - gavel and sounding block on desk

U.S. Judge sparks outrage for no jail time in rape sentence

A former school bus driver is sentenced to probation in the rape of a 14-year-old

An upstate New York judge who stoked social media outrage for sentencing a former school bus driver to probation in the rape of a 14-year-old is getting “numerous vitriolic” phone calls, court officials said Tuesday.

Jefferson County Supreme Court Judge James McClusky last week sentenced Shane Piche to 10 years of probation, sparking an online wave of condemnation from people arguing that the punishment was too lenient. The 26-year-old was accused of raping the teenager at his residence in Watertown, New York, last summer. Piche, who was a bus driver in the victim’s school district, pleaded guilty to third-degree rape in February.

Piche also was required to register as a Level 1 sex offender, the lowest of three categories based on the risk of another offence. Three orders of protection were issued and Piche was ordered not to be left alone with anyone under the age of 17.

The sentencing drew national media attention and harsh criticism. Twitter users posted the phone number and address of McClusky’s chambers in Watertown.

READ MORE: Transgender inmate at B.C. women’s prison files discrimination complaint

“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,” state court spokesman Lucian Chalfen wrote in an email.

Chalfen said the judge was “well within” the sentencing range for this type of negotiated plea conviction. The maximum state prison time he could have received would have been from 1 1/3 to 4 years, he said.

Jefferson County chief assistant district attorney Patricia Dziuba said all parties acted within the parameters set by law and that the prosecutor handling the case sought up to six months of jail time along with probation, supervision and treatment. She declined to criticize the judge’s sentence.

Piche didn’t make a statement during his sentencing.

Calls seeking comment were left Tuesday with McCluskey and Piche’s attorney, Eric Swartz.

“He’ll be a felon for the rest of his life. He’s on the sex offender registry for a long time,” Swartz told television station WWNY of Watertown.

READ MORE: Cache Creek man ordered to pay $500K for wildfire that sparked on his property

The station said a victim impact statement given to them by the victim’s mother read, “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.”

Chelsea Miller, of the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said based on the mother’s statement, it’s possible that the judge and court officials didn’t understand the harm the survivor experienced.

“Unfortunately, this can discourage survivors who see jail or prison time as a form of accountability,” Miller said.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Kootenay snowpack nearing record levels

High snowpack can mean a greater risk of flooding in spring, say forecasters

VIDEO: Kootenay Patricks, Montreal Canadiens play to the crowd in Nelson

The charity game was a spectacle from puck drop

Province looking at steps to dissolve Jumbo resort municipality

Disincorporating municipality will likely require a legislative change, according to the province

RCMP still investigating body found between Nelson, Castlegar

Halimi’s body was found between Nelson and Castlegar in May 2018

Almost 20,000 parking tickets issued by Interior Health at hospitals in 2019

In 2018, pay parking in Interior Health hospitals totalled $5.3 million of their $2.2-billion budget

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Most Read