A professional NFL cheerleader accused of sex abuse, and her mother, a middle school principal who allegedly covered up the crime, entered pleas of not guilty during their arraignment Monday in Kenton County, Ky.
Sarah Jones, 26, one-time captain of the Cincinnati Bengals cheerleading squad and a former high school teacher, has been charged with sexually abusing a minor and unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual activities.
Reportedly, Sarah Jones had sex with a 16-year-old high school football player 4 or 5 times and exchanged numerous text messages with the student.
Jones resigned from her job as an English teacher at Dixie Heights High School in Kentucky in November.
Sarah Jones’ mother, Cheryl Jones, is accused of tampering with evidence in connection with her daughter’s case. Cheryl Jones is currently suspended from her job as middle school principal pending a further investigation.
Both Sarah and Cheryl Jones were arrested following a grand jury investigation into the charges.
At the courthouse on Monday the women were joined by a dozen supporters, including the family of the alleged victim.
Though the alleged victim’s family supports Sarah Jones, Jefferson County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Sarah Farmer said her office will continue to prosecute the case against both Sarah and Cheryl Jones.
“The commonwealth feels that we have sufficient proof to go forward,” attorney Farmer told reporters.
At the arraignment, Judge Patricia Summe ordered Sarah and Cheryl Jones to avoid contact with the alleged victim and to disable the text messaging component of their phones.
Forensic evidence for the case was collected by taking Sarah Jones’ computers and phone records.
The trial date for both Sarah and Cheryl Jones is set for June 27.
With both mother and daughter involved in education, the case has caused ripples through the local school district. Kenton County Superintendant Terri Cox-Cruey, who oversees the middle school where Cheryl Jones serves as principal, told reporters that the district was closely monitoring the situation.
“We want all our students to be safe,” she said.
Charles T. Lester Jr., the lawyer for both Sarah and Cheryl Jones, issued a statement.
“Sarah has maintained her innocence,” Lester wrote. “The indictment of her mother is completely baseless. Cheryl Jones did not tamper with evidence.”
Sarah Jones is no stranger to being in headlines. In 2009, she made national news when she sued TheDirty.com founder Nik Richie for posting a picture of her that claimed she had contracted a sexually transmitted disease and was having sex with Bengals players.
Last June, Jones said the allegations — which she claimed were completely unfounded — had ruined life in an interview on ABC’s 20/20.
“I literally broke down,” she said. “I worked my butt off to make sure I had a clean, great reputation and then it was ruined by one post.”
Sarah Jones was rewarded an $11 million default judgment for defamation, but litigation in the case is ongoing.