A former Mars High School volunteer band instructor will spend 11½ to 23 months in prison for having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl in the band. Devin Prescott Howes, 24, of 127 Meridith Drive, Adams Township, pleaded guilty to corruption of minors and two counts of indecent assault. Howes did not agree to a sentencing recommendation from the Butler County District Attorney’s Office in exchange for his plea. Instead, Butler County Judge Timothy McCune alone fashioned the sentence in court Thursday after the defendant, his friends, family, employer and lawyer Al Lindsay argued in favor of a probation-only punishment. Friends and family described Howes as passionate, trustworthy and hardworking. Howes, who described himself as his own worst critic, became emotional and apologized. He said he’d punished himself for risking the life and the aviation career he’d worked so hard for with what he described as “indiscretions,” “immature acts” and a “terrible mistake.” Lindsay noted that the victim — also an Adams Township resident — had initiated the 2009-2010 relationship. She’d earlier expressed feelings of guilt over her actions and relayed that she did not wish anything bad to happen to Howes, Lindsay said. But the judge soundly rejected any insinuation of fault on the victim’s part, stressing there are good reasons why it is illegal for adults to have sex with young teenagers. McCune said they are not mentally prepared for that type of relationship, and they often suffer lifelong issues after being assaulted. “She was a 15-year-old girl,” McCune said, then later added that court paperwork alleging no one was hurt in this case was not correct. “(Howes) has sentenced this girl and this girl’s family to a life of heartache.” The girl is not being identified due to the nature of the crimes. During earlier court proceedings, she testified that Howes knew her age, and he at times would reflect “how it was wrong” that she was only 15. The pair reportedly met when Howes mentored the girl in the high school marching band. Howes was never an employee of the school district, but court records say he continued to volunteer as an instructor for the drum line after he’d graduated both high school and college. Court records say after meeting the girl, Howes moved to Hilton Head, S.C., to take a job as a safety analyst for Baldwin Aviation. But he continued to hold regular, inappropriate conversations with the victim over the internet. McCune on Thursday dismissed the defendant’s request for probation only, saying he’d “already got a heck of a break from the District Attorney’s Office,” which had agreed to a plea involving misdemeanor crimes only. Howes initially faced more than 1,200 charges, many of which would have put a felony on his record for life, McCune said. In addition to the jail time, McCune ordered Howes to serve a year’s probation, log 200 hours of community service, and pay $1,000 in fines and $1,695 in restitution. Although neither the girl nor her family spoke in court Thursday, McCune said he had earlier read statements they had written. Although court records initially listed a South Carolina address for the defendant, court records say he recently moved into his parents’ home.