An Ashland community theater actor must register as a sex offender after he pleaded guilty to inappropriately touching a 10-year-old girl at a party in July 2010.

An Ashland community theater actor must register as a sex offender after he pleaded guilty to inappropriately touching a 10-year-old girl at a party in July 2010.

Sunshine Sweetwater Bucy, 39, pleaded guilty on Jan. 13 to attempted first-degree sexual abuse and was given 90 days in jail.

Bucy also was placed on three years probation. He is allowed to have contact with his own children and may be in the presence of minors if an adult is present.

In a letter written to the girl's mother prior to his sentencing, Bucy apologized for his actions, but claimed that he had no memory of touching the girl.

Jackson County Deputy District Attorney David Orr said Bucy claimed he was so intoxicated that night he could not remember what he'd done.

"I do not recall touching your daughter, but I know I was extremely intoxicated," Bucy wrote.

Bucy entered an "Alford plea," which acts as a guilty plea but does not require him to admit to the crimeHe can assert his innocence while acknowledging that evidence exists to convict him.

"Maybe he is saving face," Orr said.

The prosecution originally tried Bucy on a first-degree sexual abuse charge, which could have sent Bucy to prison for five years, but his controversial trial last year ended in a hung jury.

"The thing is, we would have offered him attempted first-degree sex abuse in the first place and this would not have gone to trial," Orr said.

Bucy was arrested and charged with first-degree sexual abuse after a party at his Faith Street apartment on July 31, 2010.

A 10-year-old girl who attended the party said Bucy kissed her on the lips, nuzzled her neck, touched her upper thigh and tried to unzip her sweatshirt.

After the jury deadlocked in May 2010, Orr determined that he would retry the case. But after he spoke with the presiding juror after the first trial, Orr said he was discouraged by what he learned.

"She said that six of the jurors would not convict based solely on the girl's testimony," Orr said. "It was frustrating for me because the law states that you can convict based on that testimony."

The girl took the stand and told jurors that Bucy touched her in a sexual manner while she sat on Bucy's bed.

Orr said the girl's testimony remained consistent throughout the ordeal.

"She gave the same statement to the grand jury, at the trial and each time she spoke to me," Orr said. "Her story never changed."

The trial sparked outrage from victims' advocate groups who objected to the strategy of Bucy's defense attorney, Peter Carini, who brought the bed into the courtroom and questioned the girl as she stood next to it.

The advocates claimed the display could have traumatized the girl even further.

Orr said the girl and her family moved out of the area following the trial.

He said the girl has received counseling and is attempting to move on with her life.

"She is a bright girl who knew that what (Bucy) did was not right," Orr said. "She knew something had to be done."

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.