You might remember the story of Sarah Jones, the former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader and high school teacher who was accused of having sex with a teenage boy… a teenage boy who was also one of her students. Jones was charged with both first-degree sexual abuse and unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited acts, and what’s more, her mother was also charged, with tampering with physical evidence. Both Jones and her mother pleaded not guilty.
Not much has come out on the case since then, but that changed this morning, when Jones sat down with Today’s Jeff Rossen on NBC and explained her side of the story. Well, actually, she didn’t explain her side of the story too much – she declined to specifically discuss the nature of her relationship with the boy in question, and when asked point blank if she’d had sex with him, she said she was not “allowed to discuss” that, either. However, she downplayed the accusations as gossip, said the boy is a family friend who’ll testify in her defense… and talked about being under house arrest, which she’s now been under for 17 weeks:
I’d all but beg Jones not to read everything written about her on the internet (there’s a reason Rossen said “tortures herself” there), except considering that this happened, it might not be too bad of an idea. Still, that has to be a pretty miserable way to pass the time until the trial starts in October.
Additionally, while perhaps one can’t read too much into Jones’ refusal to directly answer some of Rossen’s questions and instead wait for the trial (after all, the prosecution, when contacted by Rossen, also declined to comment), the fact that she couldn’t come out and say “No” when asked if she had sex with the alleged victim was weird. She pleaded innocent, so why not deny it then and there? (That’s not rhetorical, by the way – I’m not a lawyer, so if there’s a sound legal basis for her doing that, let me know.)
Even her lawyer, when talking about the case, said the prosecution “can’t prove that there was any type of sex” – despite, as Rossen pointed out, the prosecution team having “9,000 pages of evidence” – rather than offering a flat denial. (Again: he’s a lawyer. I’m not. Maybe not outright saying “it never happened” is the right move even when you’ve pleaded innocent – maybe it makes it more likely to settle the case without it going to trial? OK, stopping before I start sounding like this.) Guess we all just have to wait for the trial to let this seriously bizarre story play out.