EL PASO, Texas - The former Las Cruces school bus driver convicted of having sex with a 15-year-old student was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in prison.
In 2016, Darien Pete, 28, pleaded no contest with no agreement to sentencing or a reduction in charges, the district attorney's office said.
"I knew it was wrong and there were plenty of times I was able to get away from that and not go in that direction, but as we started texting and everything, I just forgot about the consequences," Pete said in court Thursday.
When asked by the judge to explain why he had sex with the girl, Pete started crying, before saying, "My girlfriend and I, at the time, we were going through a rough time and she was planning to deploy and I felt lonely," he said.
Pete was convicted on two counts of Criminal Sexual Penetration of a Minor, both fourth-degree felonies, and was originally facing a three year prison sentence.
Pete will only have to serve 15 months because of time served, but will have to register as a sex offender.
Investigators say Pete met the 15-year-old girl in 2015 while driving a school bus. The two exchanged contact information and communicated via social media and text messages.
The girl's mother became suspicious, discovered some of the messages appeared to be sexual in nature, and alerted Las Cruces police.
The victim also addressed the court Thursday, telling the judge she suffers from depression.
"I was being bullied at school and people were calling me a whore," the victim said, "I began cutting myself as a way to deal with this pain."