Tag - Sex With a Minor

Former NFL Cheerleader to Accept Plea Bargain in Sexual Abuse Case

A former high school teacher and National Football League cheerleader has agreed to a plea bargain instead of being tried for having had sex with 16-year-old high school student. Sarah Jones was charged with first-degree sexual abuse and the unlawful use of electronics to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited acts last March and has reportedly been under house arrest since then. Jones taught freshman English at Dixie Heights High School in Edgewood, Kentucky before resigning from her position last November after local police began investigating the case. At the time, Jones cited personal reasons for her departure. Jones also moonlighted as a cheerleader for the nearby Cincinnati Bengals football team. The former teacher and cheerleader is said to have had a sexual relationship with a school football player between October and the end of December of last year. Jones’ case has been well-publicized with the former teacher even appearing on “Good Morning America” in July of this year to address the allegations against her. During the interview, Jones claimed that she had only had sex with one man, her now-ex-husband Nathan Wilburn. Jones and Wilburn were married in July of last year, but separated just one month later. They are now divorced. Jones has publicly stated that she believes the accusations against her stemmed from rumors that had been started by the alleged victim’s bitter ex-girlfriend.

In a shocking twist in the case, Jones’ mother Cheryl Jones was also charged with a criminal offense related to her daughter’s case. Prosecutors in the case say that Cheryl Jones tampered with physical evidence in an attempt to help her daughter. The elder Jones is a middle school principal and is currently on administrative leave from her position. News outlets also report that she will be accepting a plea bargain in relation to the charges against her.

While both mother and daughter are expected back in court first thing tomorrow morning to formally accept their plea bargains, details of what punishments they are facing have not been released. In California, the punishments associated with a charge of statutory rape largely depend on the age difference between the alleged victim and the defendant. In cases such as Jones’, where the age difference at the time of the crime was as much as 10 years, a prison stint is highly likely, as is required registration as a sex offender. If the age difference is smaller than 10 years, probation and expensive fines are often more likely.

New Jersey High School Teachers, Administrators Charged with Misconduct and Sex Crimes

High school teachers having sex with their students is never, ever a good idea. You would think that with all the well-publicized arrests that are seen in the media every year, and several very high profile criminal cases in recent memory, high school teachers would be more cautious of the tone of their relationships with their students. Instead, school campuses across the nation seem to have become fertile soil for sexual predators and adults with particularly bad judgment. In a recent case in the state of New Jersey, a group of high school teachers and even school administrators are now facing criminal charges not only for potential sex crimes, but also for hiding and covering up the allegations of them. At Triton High School in Runnemede, New Jersey, an unnamed student mentioned to a substitute teacher last April that students and teachers at the school had been “hooking up.” The substitute teacher reported the conversation to the school’s principal, Catherine DePaul. When DePaul later met with the student, the student claimed that she believed another student was having a sexual relationship with one of the school’s teachers, and that she had seen several sexually explicit text messages that the two had exchanged. DePaul opted not to contact the school board or local law enforcement agencies. Instead, she enlisted the school’s Assistant Principal, Jernee Kollock, to help the student draft a written account of what she knew. Kollock even helped the student correct her grammar. Kollock unfortunately also down-played the situation to the student and made it seem less serious than it was.

Around the same time, DePaul learned that another teacher had driven an alleged victim and another student to Ocean City, which directly violated the school district’s policy. DePaul went to her superiors with this information, but never told them about other allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of her teachers. According to reports, she instead told at least one school employee to simply erase several text message exchanges with students from his phone.

DePaul and Kollock have both been charged with official misconduct. Three male teachers have been charged with official misconduct as well as several other sex crimes. Dan Michielli, who is a 27-year-old math teacher, was charged with sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal sexual conduct. Michielli is said to have had intercourse with a female student multiple times during the course of the school year. Nick Martinelli, who is 28 years old and the boys’ soccer coach, allegedly touched and kissed a female student, then had intercourse with her after she graduated from the school. Girls’ track coach Jeff Logandro, who is 32 years old, was charged with criminal sexual conduct and endangering the welfare of a child after allegedly inappropriately touching a female student. All three teachers were suspended last month by the Black Horse Regional School District while DePaul and Kollock were suspended last week. All five defendants are facing up to five years in prison if convicted.

AYSO Coach Charged with Child Molestation

A boys’ soccer coach in Lancaster was accused last month of molesting several boys he had worked with. Renior Vincent Valenti was formally charged by Los Angeles County prosecutors with molesting 13 boys, including five former or current male players that he had worked with as a coach for the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). According to reports, the abuse occurred as early as 1994 with one victim and continued for the next 10 years. Valenti is said to have molested other boys as recently as the month before his arrest. Valenti had been arrested in July after a mother came to local authorities claiming that Valenti had molested her 9-year-old son. Initially, Valenti was charged with crimes relating to five boys, including two felony counts of continuous sexual abuse and three misdemeanor counts of child molestation on August 8, to which he pleaded not guilty. As investigators for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Victims Unit continued to dig deeper into the case, however, several more alleged victims were found, especially after the department appealed to the public for any more victims to come forward. The boys allegedly abused by Valenti range in age from five years old to 15. Valenti is now facing five felony counts of continuous child abuse and eight misdemeanor counts of child molestation. If Valenti is convicted on all counts, he is facing a minimum sentence of 83 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison. Valenti, who is now 50 years old, has been coaching soccer for AYSO for 15 years.

At a hearing last Thursday, a Los Angeles County judge raised Valenti’s bail from $1 million to $2.25 million.

Being accused of child molestation can have serious consequences on a person’s future. While the allegations in themselves can be very damaging to a person’s reputation, the legal ramifications of a conviction can put you in prison for a very, very long time. In most cases of child molestation, rather than assessing a single punishment for several counts of criminal activity, each charge is considered separately and given its own punishments. Being convicted of multiple crimes means that the jail time simply adds up; Valenti’s case is a perfect example of this as he is facing over 80 years in prison for his alleged numerous crimes.

A good lawyer, however, knows that there are several ways to deal with this. Many charges can be reduced or dismissed due to lack of evidence, or improperly collected evidence against a defendant.