A former Cobleskill-Richmondville teacher last week was sentenced to jail time and probation for a sex-crime conviction.
Aaron Christman, 26, pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree criminal sexual act, a Class E felony, in connection with having illicit sexual contact with a student under 17 in October, 2014.
Christman had been a part-time physical education teacher at the high school and a modified basketball coach in the middle school.
C-R officials started the investigation themselves after hearing about communications between a student and Christman early last year.
School officials subsequently turned their information over to the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office and placed Christman on paid administrative leave in January, 2015.
The county's investigation found that Christman and the girl met in a "non-residential area" in Richmondville in October 2014.
Christman was arrested in February, 2015. He pleaded guilty to the criminal sexual act charge in December.
He was sentenced in Schoharie County Court to four months in custody and will serve that time in the county jail, according to a court official.
Christman was also sentenced to 10 years' felony probation and must register as a sex offender.
Christman could have been sentenced to one and one-third to four years in prison and four years' parole, Schoharie County District Attorney Jim Sacket said.
But Mr. Sacket prefers probation because Christman will be watched more closely.
"With felony probation, there are a huge amount of restrictions, and when the victim is under 18, there are even more," Mr. Sacket said.
For instance, Christman can't be in a place where children congregate, and the Probation Department monitors his social media activity.
"I think the people in our community are better served because he'll be more closely watched," Mr. Sacket said.
The case was difficult, he added, because of the expected trust between a student and teacher. At the same time, it was Christman's first offense and "he owned up to his mistake," Mr. Sacket said.
Christman also relinquishes his teaching certificate and must pay nearly $1,500 in surcharges and fines.