Last Thursday, a 26-year-old New York State man who admitted to raping a 14-year-old girl he met while driving her school bus escaped jail time time during his sentencing hearing.
Shane Piche, who pleaded guilty to third-degree rape in February, was sentenced to 10 years’ probation by Judge James P. McClusky and will now have to register as a Level 1 sex offender, reported The Watertown Daily Times. “A Level 1 sex offender is considered to be at low risk of committing the crime again and is not included in online sex offender databases,” noted the outlet.
According to WWNYTV 7 News, the victim’s mother wrote in an impact statement: “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.”
The news station reported in February that the victim’s mother also said, “Piche bought her daughter gifts and invited her and other minors to his home where he gave them alcohol and then allegedly raped the young teenager.”
In New York state, sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 17 by someone over the age of 21 is considered a Class E felony, according to NYSenate.gov, and is punishable by up to four years behind bars.
Eric Swartz, Piche’s defense attorney, reacted to the sentencing by arguing that his client has himself suffered “pain” by the underlying rape incident.
“He’ll be a felon for the rest of his life. He’s on the sex offender registry for a long time,” Swartz told WWNYTV 7 News. “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.”
As noted by The Waterloo Daily Times, Piche was also hit with three “no contact” orders and will have to pay $375 in court fees and surcharges. He will also have to pay $1,000 for a special sex offender registration fee.
Prosecutors sought to have Piche register as a Level 2 offender — a high risk offender— but Judge McClusky knocked it down to a Level 1 because the defendant had no prior incidents on his rap sheet.
Piche was first arrested in September of 2018; the rape took place when he was 25 years old. He was initially charged with “second-degree rape, first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child and endangering the welfare of a child,” the station reported.
The defendant lost his job driving buses for the school district soon after the charges were filed.
“We will continue to work with all of our contractors to ensure that non-district employees that work with our students are held to the same high standards as our own employees,” said city school Superintendent Patti LaBarr in a statement, following the incident.
When Piche was offered a chance to speak at the sentencing, he declined the opportunity to do so.