Shane Piche, a 25-year-old man from Watertown, New York, pleaded guilty earlier this year to third-degree rape of a teenage girl, an incident that took place in June last year.
Yet in spite of the horrendous nature of the crime, he’ll serve no time behind bars, per the sentencing order he received earlier this week.
Piche had met the 14-year-old girl from the upstate New York community he lived in while working as a school bus driver for the school district, according to reporting from New York Daily News.
As a result of his sentencing, Piche must register as a Level I sex offender in New York and will be subject to a 10-year probation period for his crime. However, he will not have to serve any time behind bars.
The judge in the case reportedly said the ruling was fair, given that Piche had no prior criminal record and there was only one victim involved, according to reporting from KHOU.
No jail time for NY school bus driver who admitted to raping 14-year-old girl. The judge says the 26-year-old has no prior arrests and there was one victim, so the sentence was appropriate. https://t.co/LpTIczOZDj #KHOU pic.twitter.com/luCy5iDRwi
— KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) April 29, 2019
Piche’s lawyer, Eric Swartz, also defended the lenient sentencing his client received, stating that “this isn’t something that didn’t cause him pain and this isn’t something that didn’t have consequences.”
But the victim’s family feels otherwise. The mother of the child (both are unnamed to protect the victim’s identity) wrote in a victim impact statement that Piche should have been punished more severely than he had.
“I wish Shane Piche would have received time in jail for the harm he caused to my child,” the victim’s mother wrote, per reporting from WWNYTV. “He took something from my daughter she will never get back and has caused her to struggle with depression and anxiety.”
The charge for which Piche pleaded guilty to is considered a class E felony, according to New York State Law. Such crimes can result in punishments as great as four years in prison, and typically have a minimum sentencing standard of at least one year behind bars.
However, according to the New York State Senate website, courts can amend these penalties based on the “history and character of the defendant,” and can decide to “impose a definite sentence of imprisonment and fix a term of one year or less” if they see fit.