Ex-NFL cheerleader pleads guilty to student sex
A former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader pleaded guilty Monday to
having sex with her 17-year-old former student while she was a
teacher at a northern Kentucky high school, a move that will allow
her to avoid jail time.
In a tearful admission in Kenton County Circuit Court in
Covington, Ky., 27-year-old Sarah Jones pleaded guilty to sexual
misconduct and custodial interference in place of more serious
charges as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
”I began a romantic relationship while he was a student and I
was in a position of authority,” Jones said, her voice cracking as
her family members wiped their own tears.
Jones said the relationship began in February 2011 when the boy
was 17, saying that the two had sex, that she sent him sexually
explicit text messages and lied about the relationship to
The teen had been in Jones’ freshman English class in 2008, and
she was his peer tutor in 2010 and 2011 before he graduated at the
age of 17 this year, according to Monday’s plea agreement, signed
In accepting the plea agreement, Judge Patricia Summe granted
prosecutors’ recommendation to sentence Jones to five years of
diversion but no jail time, and she won’t have to register as a sex
offender. The diversion requires Jones to report to a probation
officer and undergo drug tests.
Prosecutors said they were willing to make the deal because the
teen, now 18, and his family were uncooperative with them and on
”We feel that it is a just and it is a fair result,”
prosecutor Sara Farmer said. ”It’s certainly difficult when a
victim and his family don’t cooperate by not providing information,
but it makes our case a lot harder when they’re actually proactive
for a defendant, and in this case, the family was more than
supportive of the Jones (family). They were proactive for
Jones had taught at Dixie Heights High School before resigning
last November. She was indicted in March, and her trial had been
set to start Wednesday.
Part of the reason defense attorney Eric Deters said Jones was
willing to plead guilty was because Summe had denied his request to
keep the text messages that she sent to the teen out of the
”They’re embarrassing,” Deters told reporters after the
hearing. ”They were steamy.”
He also said that now that the teen is 18 years old, he and
Jones ”are free to be together” and pointed out that they left
the courtroom together.
Deters declined to discuss details of their current
relationship, saying that the pair would discuss it on the
”Today” show and ”Dateline” on Friday.
He said that Jones will not try out to be a Bengals cheerleader
in the future, and that for now, she’s working as a legal assistant
in his office.
Jones has expressed interest in becoming a lawyer and is
studying to take the Law School Admission Test, he said.
Before any accusations involving the student surfaced, Jones
drew public attention when she sued a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based
gossip website over a posting dated Dec. 7, 2009, that included her
photo and was headlined ”The Dirty Bengals Cheerleader.” The
posting claimed that Jones’ ex-boyfriend cheated on her with more
than 50 women, contracted chlamydia and gonorrhea, and likely gave
it to her.
Another post on the site, Thedirty.com, accused Jones of having
sex in the classroom and said, ”Why are all high school teachers
freaks in the sack?”
Jones resigned as a teacher at Dixie Heights and from the
Bengals cheer squad in late 2011 after four years with both jobs.
Deters said at the time that she had done nothing wrong and stepped
down because a rumor that she had become involved with a student
became too much.
The lawsuit, which accuses the website and its creator of
defamation and invasion of privacy and seeks $11 million in
damages, was on hold until the criminal case was resolved.
Deters now is asking for a January trial date in the matter.
Jones’ mother, former school principal Cheryl Armstrong Jones,
also pleaded guilty Monday, to a misdemeanor charge of attempted
tampering with evidence. She admitted to the judge that she sent
the teen a text message telling him to get rid of his phone and
also avoided jail time.
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