Just one victim and no prior arrests. That was the rationale an upstate New York judge had last week for giving the lowest-risk sex offender designation to a former Watertown school bus driver who pleaded guilty earlier this year to raping a 14-year-old girl. Instead, per the Watertown Daily News, Jefferson County Judge James P. McClusky gave Shane M. Piche 10 years' probation and a Level 1 sex-offender designation—a status not even required to be included in online sex-offender registries. Prosecutors had sought a Level 2 sex-offender designation. With exceptions, Piche, reportedly 25 or 26, also isn't allowed to be alone with anyone under the age of 17, must pay $1,375 in fees, and has three "no contact" protection orders he must abide by.
State police say Piche met the girl through his bus driver job, but the sexual assault took place at his home. The Washington Post notes Piche's case "joins a list of controversial punishments in sexual assault cases," including that of Brock Turner, the Stanford student convicted of sexual assault who served three months of a six-month sentence. The mom of the victim says she wishes Piche had received jail time, noting in a victim impact statement seen by 7 News that "he took something from my daughter she will never get back and has caused her to struggle with depression and anxiety." Meanwhile, USA Today cites a disturbing stat via the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network: that for every 1,000 rapes, only five perpetrators end up in jail. (There was also no jail time for an Oklahoma man who pleaded guilty to raping a 15-year-old.)