A Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader and former teacher continues to maintain her innocence in the sexual abuse case involving one of her former students.
Sarah Jones, the captain of the Ben-Gals cheerleading squad, was indicted last week on claims that she had sex with a 16-year-old high school football player four or five times and exchanged numerous text messages with the student, as first reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jones, who resigned from her job as an English teacher at Dixie Heights High in Kentucky in November, faces charges of first-degree sexual abuse and unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited acts.
Her mother, Cheryl Jones, the principal at nearby Twenhofel Middle School, was also indicted on a charge tampering with evidence.
Both appeared in court Monday and pleaded not guilty.
Judge Patricia Summe lowered the bond for Jones and her mother to $15,000 each. Both must wear electronic monitoring bracelets as a condition of their release. A pre-trial date was set for June 11.
“The student denies it. The parents of the student are upset that this has gone where it has. They don’t have anything bad to say about Sarah,” attorney Eric Deters said in December after the allegations surfaced. “Sarah denies it. There’s no victim. There’s nobody saying, ‘Hey, this happened.’”
Deters is currently suspended for ethics violations but will return to the case when his suspension is lifted on April 24, according to MSNBC.
Jones, 26, 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 Jones 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.”
Jones was rewarded an $11 million default judgment for defamation, but litigation in the case is ongoing.
Five months after her appearance on 20/20, she resigned from her teaching position, citing “personal reasons.”
National media outlets were in court on Monday to observe the proceedings as the case continues to generate more attention.
More NFL news from Washington Post Sports: