Sarah Jones, the high school teacher and ex-cheerleader for the Cincinnati Bengals charged with having sex with a 17-year-old Dixie Heights High School student, reversed her earlier denials by admitting to the relationship as part of a plea deal.
Jones, 27, won’t receive any jail time in exchange for her guilty plea, which she entered in Kenton County Circuit Court in Kentucky, according to CBS News. The Ben-Gals cheerleader pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct and custodial interference – charges less severe than what she was facing.
"I began a romantic relationship while he was a student and I was in a position of authority," Jones said in court, according to CBS News.
Jones previously denied the charges.
As part of the plea agreement, Jones admitted that she began a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student at Dixie Heights High School. She said she had sex with the boy, sent him lewd texts and lied about the relationship to police, the network said.
Jones is still in a relationship with the student, who is now 18 years old and graduated high school, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The teen was uncooperative with prosecutors and his family was supportive of his relationship with Jones, which in part led prosecutors to give Jones a plea deal, according to CBS News.
Instead of jail time, Jones received a sentence of five years of diversion – a type of probation. Under the diversion, Jones will have to report to a probation officer, take drug tests and can no longer be a teacher.
Jones was emotional as she entered her plea and admitted to the relationship in court.
“Our romantic relationship included voluminous phone calls and text messages,” the ex-Bengals cheerleader said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I sent sexually explicit text messages to (the victim) when he was a student. I had sexual contact including sexual intercourse with (the student) in Kenton County, Kentucky, while he was a student and I was a teacher.”
If Jones does not meet all the requirements of her diversion, she’ll likely be headed to jail, the newspaper reported.
The former student showed up in support of Jones at the Kentucky courtroom and the couple left the courthouse together, according to the Enquirer.
Jones’ attorney, Eric Deters, would not say whether the couple has wedding plans. Jones’ plea agreement does not bar her from having contact with the 18-year-old, the paper reported.
In exchange for her guilty plea, Jones was also spared what may have been an embarrassing trial, according to CBS News, because of the sexually explicit text messages that may have been read in court.
"They're embarrassing," Deters said, according to the network. "They were steamy."