Former Teacher, NFL Dancer Avoids Jail for Sex With Student

Sarah Jones gets plea deal, leaves court with victim, who is now 18.

ByABC News
October 8, 2012, 2:06 PM

Oct. 8, 2012— -- Sarah Jones, a former high school English teacher in Kentucky who had sex with a 17-year-old student, will not go to jail or have to register as a sex offender, according to the terms of a plea deal entered today.

Jones, 26, who is an ex-Cincinnati Ben-Gal cheerleader, pleaded guilty to custodial interference and sexual misconduct, in place of more serious charges that could have sent her to prison for years.

"We are ecstatic about this plea agreement," Jones' attorney, Eric Deters, told ABC News. "It's a great deal for Sarah. She can go on with her life."

Central to the case were steamy text messages between Jones and her victim but, Deters said, prosecutors would have had an uphill battle proving when and where the sex took place.

The former teacher walked out of court hand-in-hand with the victim, who is now 18. The pair would not comment on the plea deal or their relationship, ABC News' Cincinnati affiliate, WCPO-TV, reported.

Jones was indicted in March on charges of first-degree sexual abuse and unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited acts. Police say the charges stem from an investigation that began in November at Dixie Heights High School in Edgewood, Ky.

The former freshman English teacher stepped down from her position at the school in November after the investigation began, citing "personal reasons."

Jones appeared on "Good Morning America" in July to address the allegations.

"People don't know the real me," the divorcee said then. "There's blogs and postings out there that I have slept with numerous people. I married my high school sweetheart.

"I just asked the general public to maybe hold their judgment a little bit longer until the truth comes out."

A federal charge was also handed down against Jones' mother, Cheryl Jones, for allegedly tampering with physical evidence in her daughter's case. The elder Jones also accepted a plea deal today and was given two years of conditional discharge and will have to pay court costs.

"The hardest thing has been having not only me go through it, but to have my mom go through it with me," Jones told "GMA."

"It's almost kind of a guilty feeling that she is even involved in this because what has happened to her is not fair. My goal is for her charges to be dismissed."