Outrage continues to grow after a New York judge spared a school bus driver jail time after he was convicted of raping a child.
Jefferson County Supreme Court Judge James McClusky last week allowed Shane Piche to walk free after being found guilty of raping a child after plying her with alcohol.
The 26-year-old bus driver was sentenced to just 10 years of probation after the being found guilty of repeatedly raping the girl at his home in Watertown, N.Y.
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Piche, who was a driver in the victim’s school district, pleaded guilty to third-degree rape. He was ordered to pay a total of $1,375 in fees and was also required to register as a Level 1 sex offender, the lowest of three categories.
But that’s not enough punishment, some say. Court officials said Tuesday that McClusky has been getting harassed by “numerous vitriolic” phone calls and online complaints after his sentencing made national news.
A petition on MoveOn.org has now attracted over 71,850 signatures demanding McClusky be removed from the bench permanently.
“A New York judge just let a child rapist off with no jail time and—unbelievably—justified it by saying he ‘only’ raped one girl. ‘Only’ one—these are the words of Judge James McClusky,” the petition states. “Judge McClusky cannot be trusted to protect survivors of sexual assault, and he needs to be removed from the bench.”
Many are simply proclaiming their surprise at the ruling, while others are displaying more direct outrage at the apparent injustice, for a number of reasons.
Kristen Clarke, the President & Executive Director for the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, tweeted of the situation, “Shane Piche, white, admitted to raping a 14 yr old girl. He will do NO jail time. 16 yr old Kaleif Browder, African American, spent 3 yrs on Rikers Island awaiting trial on an accusation that he stole a backpack. Much of the time was spent in solitary confinement.”
Similarly, Andi Zeisler, the cofounder of Bitch Media, tweeted, “I don’t know who needs to hear this but YOUNG WHITE GUYS GET ONE FREE RAPE is an indefensible judicial stance.”
As the result of McClusky’s sentencing decision, many people are sharing McClusky’s phone number and the address of the federal courthouse where he works, encouraging others to call and complain about the ruling.
One Twitter user wrote, “I called and left a message for the judge who allowed Shane Piche to rape a 14 year girl without punishment. You should, too.”
Additionally, a petition to recall McClusky has been started; after surpassing its initial goal of 750 signatures, it has now reached 70,000 and is still growing.
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