Former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader and high school teacher SARAH JONES is facing up to 10 years in jail for sexually abusing a teenage student, authorities say.
And incredibly, her mother – middle school principal CHERYL JONES – is also caught up in the scandal! The 55-year-old educator has been charged with tampering with evidence in the bizarre case.
Investigators say Sarah had sex with a 17-year-old football player “four or five times” between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2011, while she was employed as an English teacher at Dixie Heights High School in Crestview Heights, Ky.
Authorities charge that she used her position of authority to coerce the boy into engaging in a sexual relationship with her. She’s also been charged with sending him inappropriate text messages – another felony.
Sarah, one-time captain of the Bengals cheerleading squad, abruptly quit her teaching job on Nov. 30, citing “personal reasons.” School officials said the resignation came at the same time as the first police probe.
Meanwhile, her mom Cheryl was suspended from her job as principal at Twenhofel Middle School in Independence, Ky., after being indicted.
Nathan Wilburn – Sarah’s high school sweetheart and husband for less than a year – said the couple’s honeymoon was ripped apart by the shocking allegations.
“Of course I don’t want my wife to be guilty of having sexual relations with a young boy,” he said. “I go back and forth every day as far as whether I feel it’s true or not true.”
The two fought so much over the scandal that they filed for an annulment early this year, just six weeks after their wedding.
“Sarah says she’s crushed and her life is over, she has nothing left,” said Nathan. “Her teaching career’s over. Her Bengals career is over.”
He said he hopes she is innocent, but if she’s not, “she deserves to go to jail.”
At the courthouse on April 2, where Sarah and her mom both pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, the women were joined by a dozen supporters, including the family of the alleged victim. Still, Jefferson County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Sarah Farmer said the state would continue to prosecute the cases.
“The commonwealth feels we have sufficient proof to go forward,” she declared.
Trial for both women is scheduled for Oct. 10. In the meantime, Judge Patricia Summe ordered them to avoid contact with the victim and to disable the text messaging component of their phones. Forensic evidence for the case was collected by taking Sarah’s computers and phone rec-ords.
Both women are out on bond and Sarah is working as a legal secretary at her lawyer Charles Lester’s office.
“Sarah has maintained her innocence,” said Lester. “The indictment of her mother is completely baseless. Cheryl Jones did not tamper with evidence.
“Sarah is holding up well considering everything she’s had to go through.”