School Bus Driver Receives No Jail Time After Raping 14-Year-Old Student

Judge James P. McClusky said that because there was only one victim and no prior arrests, the driver deserved probation

Shane Piche
Photo: New York State Police

There was no doubt after his guilty plea that the former school bus driver had raped a 14-year-old girl.

But because there was only one victim, and the accused had no prior arrests, the judge in the case said the man didn’t deserve to be sent to prison. Instead, Jefferson County, New York, Judge James P. McClusky sentenced the man, Shane M. Piche, to 10 years’ probation, according to the Watertown Daily Times.

The punishment did not sit well with the victim’s mother.

“I wish Shane Piche would have received time in jail for the harm he caused to my child,” the mother said in a statement, which was obtained by WWNY but not read in court. “He took something from my daughter she will never get back and has caused her to struggle with depression and anxiety.”

Piche pleaded guilty Feb. 21 to a charge of third-degree rape, the Daily Times reported.

He was arrested September 5, 2018, and initially faced charges of second-degree rape, first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child and endangering the welfare of a child.

The victim’s mother told WWNY that Piche drove her daughter’s school bus in Watertown City School District. She alleged that the 25-year-old man had bought gifts for her daughter and invited the girl and other minors to his home that summer, where he gave them alcohol and then allegedly raped the victim.

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Prosecutors had asked the judge to designate Piche as a Level 2 sex offender at his sentencing, meaning that Piche would have been required to list and update any future addresses in a statewide sex offender registry.

The judge opted for a Level 1 designation, the lowest one possible, for someone considered “at low risk of committing the crime again” and with no requirement to list future addresses in the sex offender database, reports the Daily Times.

Piche did not make a statement at his sentencing, but his attorney, Eric Swartz, said the sentence was appropriate.

“He’ll be a felon for the rest of his life,” reports WWNY. “He’s on the sex offender registry for a long time. 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.”

Piche also is not allowed to be alone with anyone under 17 years old, and was ordered to pay $375 in court fees plus a $1,000 special sex offender registration fee.

He no longer works for the contracted bus company, his attorney said.

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