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Judge faces backlash for giving no jail time to bus driver who raped 14-year-old

Judge James P. McClusky has protected sexual abusers in the past.


Samira Sadeque


A New York Supreme Court judge is facing backlash after giving no jail time to a bus driver who raped a 14-year-old girl.

Judge James P. McClusky ruled on Thursday that 26-year-old Watertown City school district bus driver Shane M. Piche was no longer a threat to the community after he admitted to raping a teenage student. He sentenced Piche to only 10 years probation and allowed him to be registered as a Level 1 sex offender, which means he will not be on any online sex offender registry, according to the Watertown Daily Times.

Even though the district attorney’s office had requested he be registered on Level 2 sex offender, McClusky let him off the hook because there was “only one victim.”

The ruling shocked many who, in the days since, have taken to social media to express their disgust with the idea that “one victim” somehow isn’t enough.

And the conversation turned to the privilege Piche was granted for being white and male.

McClusky, who was elected in 2011, is scheduled to hold his position until 2025. In light of his ruling in the Piche case, many are calling for him to be recalled. (The judge’s office and the Watertown City School District did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.)

A petition to recall him has garnered almost 3,500 of its 4,000 required signatures. “This judge has NO problem letting rapists go when a young girl’s life has been forever changed and will cause her emotional problems for many years to come at a cost of thousands of dollars for therapy,” read the petition. “Where’s her justice? This judge is a misogynist for allowing a rapist to basically go free. Recall Judge James P. McClusky!”

McClusky has a history of protecting alleged sexual abusers. In January, he reportedly denied a transgender woman’s request to have her 2017 arrest investigated. DeAnna LeTray said that Watertown police and Jefferson County corrections officers harassed and abused her during her arrest, ripped her hair off, and sexually assaulted her, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union. McClusky eventually ruled that the incident didn’t deserve an investigation, saying, “Complaining individuals do not have the right to have the DHR investigate those complaints,” according to WWNYTV.

As one tweet says, McClusky should have the same fate as Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced Stanford rapist Brock Turner to only six months in jail in 2016, despite witnesses catching him in the act. The case gained national attention following a moving speech from the survivor. Perksy was recalled last year.


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