Senator Pete Harckham and Senator Alessandra Biaggi condemned the extraordinarily light sentence handed to a Watertown, NY school bus driver who was convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl on his bus route.
Rather than send Shane M. Piche, the former bus driver, to prison, Jefferson County Judge James P. McClusky sentenced the defendant to 10 years probation last Thursday. Piche was also assigned the lowest level status on New York's sex offender registry. Both the prosecutor and victim's family had hoped for a lengthy prison sentence and Level 2 sex offender designation.
Senator Alessandra Biaggi said, "As a society, we should be focused on how to protect women from being raped. This crime is particularly offensive because this man used his position of trust as a school bus driver to lure and attack a young girl. When courts don't treat a rape as a serious criminal offense, it tells women we don't care and tells men they won't be held accountable. We need to ensure there are just outcomes so victims of rape will not be disregarded."
Senator Pete Harckham, said, "As the father of two daughters, this slap on the wrist for the rape of a 14-year-old girl sickens me. Even worse, the defendant was a school bus driver who used his proximity to children to find and sexually abuse a victim. We need to strengthen our laws so that convicted sexual predators receive stiff prison sentences that are not left to the whim of any judge who lacks common sense and empathy."
Piche pleaded guilty on February 21st to third-degree rape. Prosecutors asked the judge to hand him a Level 2 sex offender designation which would have meant that his home address would have to be posted online in the state's sexual offender registry. But on Thursday, Judge McClusky placed Piche as a Level 1 sex offender with a "low risk of re-offense"; according to state guidelines. His future address will not be added to the online registry.