Sarah Jones, a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader, pleaded guilty Monday to lesser charges on allegations that she had sex with a 17-year-old student while she was a high school teacher. It is a move that will allow her to avoid jail time.
Jones, 27, appeared in Kenton County Circuit Court and 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.
Jones said the relationship began in February 2011 at Dixie Heights High School in northern Kentucky when the boy was 17-years-old. She said she had sex with the boy, sent him sexually explicit text messages and lied about the relationship to the police.
Judge Patricia Summe granted prosecutors' recommendation to sentence Jones to five years of diversion but no jail time. The diversion requires Jones to report to a probation officer, undergo drug tests and never apply for a teaching job again.
In admitting to her relationship with the teen, Jones also avoids a potentially embarrassing trial that would have included transcripts of the text messages she sent to him. Defense attorney Eric Deters said Jones was willing to plead guilty because Summe denied his request to keep the text messages out of the trial.
"They're embarrassing," Deters told reporters after the hearing. "They were steamy."
Prosecutors said they were willing to make the deal because the teen, now 18, and his family were uncooperative with them and took Jones' side.
Jones resigned her position from Dixie Heights last November. She was indicted in March, and her trial was set to start Wednesday.
Jones' mother, former school principal Cheryl Jones, also pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor charge of tampering with evidence. She admitted to the judge that she sent the teen a text message telling him to get rid of his phone. She also avoids jail time.