(NEW YORK) — Sarah Jones, a former high school English teacher in Kentucky who pleaded guilty to having 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 Monday.
Jones, 26, who is an ex-Cincinnati Bengals 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 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.”
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 Monday and was given two years of conditional discharge and will have to pay court costs.
Copryright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire