COVINGTON, Ky. -- An ex-Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader pleaded guilty Monday to having sex with her 17-year-old former student while she was a teacher at a northern Kentucky high school and will avoid jail time.
In a tearful admission in Kenton County Circuit Court in Covington, Ky., 27-year-old Sarah Jones pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct and custodial interference in place of more serious charges as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
"I began a romantic relationship while he was a student and I was in a position of authority," Jones said, her voice cracking as her family members wiped their own tears.
Jones, who taught at Dixie Heights High School before resigning in November, said the relationship began in February 2011 when the boy was 17. Jones also said the two had sex, that she sent him sexually explicit text messages and lied about the relationship to police.
The teen had been in Jones' freshman English class in 2008, and she was his peer tutor in 2010 and 2011 before he graduated at the age of 17 this year, according to Monday's plea agreement, signed by Jones.
In accepting the plea agreement, Judge Patricia Summe granted prosecutors' recommendation to sentence Jones to five years of diversion but no jail time, and she won't have to register as a sex offender. The diversion requires Jones to report to a probation officer and undergo drug tests.
Prosecutors said they were willing to make the deal because the teen, who's now 18, and his family were uncooperative with them and on Jones' side.
Defense attorney Eric Deters said now that the teen is 18, he and Jones "are free to be together" and pointed out that they left the courtroom together.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press