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.

Just Posted

Local 4-H club hosts club exchange

Nova Scotia club pays Ponoka Silver Valley 4-H a visit

Man arrested after door closed on fraud attempt

Ponoka dealership integral to capturing alleged theif, con artist

Yellow Vest Canada members make trip to Ponoka

A small group of Yellow Vest Canada members gathered at the Ponoka… Continue reading

UPDATED: Two wooden play structures in Ponoka set to be removed

No immediate plans to replace playground equipment

UPDATED: Sink hole from rain causes sewer line issue

Affected residents can now safely flush toilets

VIDEO: Calgary, Flames agree to terms on new NHL arena

The proposed 19,000-seat facility would replace the Saddledome at an estimated cost of $550 million

Weather Network’s anti-meat video ‘doesn’t reflect true story’: cattle ranchers

At issue is the video’s suggestion that cutting back on meat consumption could help save the planet

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

Alberta ahead of average tornado count at 17 so far this year

The province’s average over the past 30 years has been 12 tornadoes per year

The Beaverton’s sharp satire thrives in polarized political climate

Canadian TV series’ third season to air Tuesday on CTV after “The Amazing Race Canada”

Lightning hits pair of vehicles near Ponoka

AMA urges drivers to stay safe when storms roll in

Maskwacis RCMP seek public assistance to locate missing female

Maskwacis RCMP is asking for public assistance to locate 26-year-old Crystal Rowan.… Continue reading

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Most Read