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.