LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) - A former bus driver will spend 18 months behind bars for having sexual contact with a student.
28-year-old Darien Pete was sentenced Thursday.
At the time of the offense, in October 2015, Pete was an employee of STS-NM, the private school bus company contracted to provide transportation services for Las Cruces Public Schools. The victim was a 15-year-old student on his bus route.
In December 2016, Pete pleaded no contest to two charges of Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Penetration with no plea agreement. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 18 months.
District Judge Fernando Macias on Thursday sentenced Pete to 18 months in prison, with an additional 18-month suspended sentence. Pete will also have to register as a sex offender upon release.
“I’m very pleased that this defendant who preyed on a 15-year-old girl was held accountable in this case, and that he received a significant punishment for his actions, which were egregious,” Las Cruces District Attorney Mark D’Antonio said. “He’ll have to register as a sex offender for life, which is appropriate for someone who would pursue a teenage girl in this fashion.”
Pete will receive credit for approximately three months he has already served in jail.