Sarah Jones leaves Kenton County Circuit Court in Covington, Ky. on Monday, April 2, 2012. Photo: Patrick Reddy/The Cincinnati Enquirer
By JIM HANNAH
The Cincinnati Enquirer
COVINGTON, Ky. -- Former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader Sarah Jones has reached a deal with prosecutors that will avoid her having to stand trial later this week on charges she had a sexual relationship with a student she taught at Dixie Heights High School.
Jones' attorney, Eric Deters, confirmed his client will accept a plea agreement Monday in Kenton Circuit Court. Deters wouldn't comment on the specifics of the agreement. Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Sara Farmer of Louisville, who is prosecuting the case, couldn't be reached Sunday for comment.
The deal avoids a trial that was set to begin Wednesday.
Jones, 27, is charged with first-degree sexual abuse and unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited activities. The crimes are felonies that are each punishable by up to five years in prison.
Authorities accused Jones of using her position of authority as a teacher in 2011 to coerce a student into engaging in a sexual relationship and sending him inappropriate text messages. She resigned in November from Dixie Heights, where she taught freshman English for about five years.
Deters said Jones' mother, Cheryl Jones, 56, will also accept a plea agreement. The mother is charged with tampering with physical evidence in her daughter's case. At the time, Cheryl Jones was principal at Twenhofel Middle School in Independence. She has since retired.
The plea agreements comes two weeks after Kenton Circuit Judge Patricia Summe denied Sarah Jones' motion to suppress evidence involving text messages between her and the student. Summe wrote that the judge who authorized the warrant for the text messages was "neutral and detached."
Deters suggested in a suppression hearing Sept. 21 that the judge shouldn't have authorized the warrant that detectives wanted to use to show a relationship between Jones and the student. Deters argued that the judge knew the student, which was a conflict of interest when he signed the warrant.
Sarah Jones still has a pending civil lawsuit against the gossip website TheDirty.com after it posted comments about her sexual behavior in 2009. Sarah Jones granted numerous interviews to local and national reporters to defend herself against the allegations on the website. Cheryl Jones was often at her daughter's side during these interviews.
In an August 2010 interview with The Enquirer, Sarah Jones said she was using the website posts as a "teachable moment" after her students started looking it up on the Internet and asking questions.
"It was then I decided I had nothing to hide," she said at the time. "There is nothing I need to back down from."
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