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Man Who Pleaded Guilty to Raping a 14-Year-Old Girl Won’t Be Included in Online Sex Offender Database

Shane M. Piche, 26, was sentenced to probation, sparking widespread outcry

shane piche

Watertown Police Department

A case in Jefferson County, New York has sparked a national outcry following the sentencing of a bus driver accused of raping a 14-year-old student.

Shane Piche, 26, pleaded guilty to raping the teenage girl, only to be given 10 years’ probation and a level one sex offender registry designation — meaning that he doesn’t even have to sign up for an online sex offender database, the Watertown Daily Times reports. Judge James P. McClusky gave Piche the relatively light sentence because he was a first-time offender with no other known victims, and McClusky did not believe he was at high risk of re-offending. Piche was also ordered to pay $375 in court fees and $1000 for having to register as a sex offender.

According to local news outlet WWNYTV, Piche met the 14-year-old girl while she was a passenger on the school bus he drove. The victim’s mother alleged that Piche invited her daughter and her friends to his house, where he gave them alcohol and where he allegedly raped her.

In Sept. 2018, Piche was arrested and charged with second-degree rape, as well as endangering the welfare of a child and unlawfully dealing with a child due to him providing his victim with alcohol. He pleaded guilty to third-degree rape in February 2019. Although prosecutors recommended that Piche be given Level 2 sex offender status, McClusky chose to designate him as a level 1 sex offender.

Per New York State law, as a level 1 sex offender, Piche will have to register as a sex offender for 20 years. His name, however, will not appear on the Department of Criminal Justice Services’ sex offender database, which includes level 2 and level 3 sex offenders. The DCJS website says that “by law, DCJS cannot list Level 1 offenders on its website,” meaning that his name will not show up if anyone searches for him on the database.

In the wake of his sentencing, many are unhappy with what they perceive as Piche’s light punishment. In a statement provided to WWNY TV, the victim’s mother wrote that, “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.” Anti-sexual assault activists are also furious, and a petition has been started to recall Judge McClusky from the bench. One petition has garnered more than 15,000 signatures.  

A registered Republican and former attorney, McClusky was elected as Judge of the Supreme Court of the 5th District in New York in 2011; his term is set to end at the end of 2025. He is no stranger to issuing controversial rulings: earlier this year, for instance, he denied a transgender woman’s petition to have the Division of Human Rights investigate her allegations of police harassment and discrimination when she was arrested during a domestic dispute. The woman alleged that law enforcement officials referred to her as a man and asked her mocking questions such as, “How long have you dressed like that?” She also alleged that when police officers brought her to the station, she was forced to strip naked and was sexually assaulted.

McClusky did not return phone calls from Rolling Stone requesting comment.

Newswire

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