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

Vernon Panthers shut down South Kamloops

Top-ranked Cats roll to 27-0 victory over Titans at Greater Vernon Athletics Park

Vernon Vipers win fifth straight

Matt Kowalski scores in overtime as Snakes stop Trail Smoke Eaters 3-2 at Kal Tire Place

Rain in forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap region

Mixed bag of clouds, sun and showers forecast for the week ahead

Vernon Lotto 649 ticket matches five of six numbers and bonus

Ticket in Saturday’s draw bought in Vernon and is worth nearly $32,000

PPC party discredits its former Kelowna-Lake Country president’s past accusations of racism

Daniel Joseph left the party in March and is now an independent candidate in the riding

Summerland council agrees to 30-year lease with steam railway

Tourist train has been operating as an attraction in Summerland since 1995

Speeding a concern on Summerland streets

Police observe fast motorists in town and on Highway 97

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

Roads contractor waits for snow removal equipment as winter looms

The newly-hired highway maintenance company serving the region is hitting some bumps… Continue reading

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Most Read