A former upstate New York bus driver who pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old student will not be going to prison.
According to the Watertown Daily Times, Jefferson County Judge James P. McClusky sentenced Shane Piche, 26, to 10 years of probation last week.
The decision came two months after Piche pleaded guilty to third-degree rape in the June 2018 incident. Authorities said he was driving for the Watertown City School District when he met the girl, whom he raped at his home, the Daily Times reported.
The judge also deemed Piche a Level 1 sex offender, which is less severe than the Level 2 designation that prosecutors had sought, the Daily Times reported. "Low-risk" Level 1 offenders "must register for 20 years, unless they have a designation (e.g. sexual predator, sexually violent offender or predicate sex offender) in which case they must register for life," according to the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services.
McClusky noted that Piche had no previous criminal history, and his crime involved just one victim.
"He'll be a felon for the rest of his life," said Piche's lawyer, Eric Swartz, according to WWNY-TV. "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."
Under his sentence, Piche "is not allowed to be alone with anyone under 17 years old, although there were some exceptions approved," the Daily Times reported.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.