He was her bus driver, ferrying her to school in Watertown, a small city in upstate New York. Then, one day last summer, having plied her with gifts and alcohol, he invited the 14-year-old to his home and raped her.
The driver, Shane Piche, 26, pleaded guilty to third-degree rape earlier this year. But instead of going to prison as the victim’s family had hoped for, Mr. Piche was sentenced on Thursday to 10 years of probation.
He was also assigned the lowest-level status on New York’s sex offender registry, according to an official with the State Supreme Court in Jefferson County. The Level 1 status is reserved for offenders with a low risk of committing another similar crime, and means that his future addresses will not be made public.
In explaining the sentence, Justice James P. McClusky said that Mr. Piche had no prior arrests and that only one victim had been involved,
Mr. Piche was ordered not to be left alone with anyone younger than 17, and to pay $1,425 in court and other fees, according to the court official. Prosecutors had initially charged him with second-degree rape, as well as first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child and endangering the welfare of a child.
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