Joneses appear in court for evidence hearing

COVINGTON, Ky. - A former Ben-Gal cheerleader and teacher accused of having sex with a student appeared in court Friday alongside her mother, who is accused of tampering with evidence in the case.

Sarah Jones and her mother Cheryl were in Judge Patricia Summe's courtroom Friday for an evidence hearing. The Joneses don't want text messages between Sarah and the alleged victim included in a jury trial. The hearing, which began at about 10 a.m. ended early in the afternoon.

Sarah formerly taught at Dixie Heights High School and is accused of having sex with a then-17-year-old student. She was once a member of the cheerleading squad for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Her mother, Cheryl Jones—the former principal of Twenhofel Middle School in Taylor Mill—is accused of evidence tampering.

In the evidence hearing, Kenton County District Judge Ken Easterling took the stand first. Easterling signed the original search warrant in the case.

The Joneses attorney, Eric Deters, is arguing Easterling knew the alleged victim in the case. If he did, Deters said Easterling should not have signed a search warrant to obtain the text messages. While on the stand Friday, Easterling said that isn't true and he does not know the victim.

During questioning, Deters asked for Easterling to be considered a hostile witness. Judge Summe denied the request. She then threatened to end the hearing because of the multiple use of the alleged victim's name.

After the hearing, Deters accused Judge Easterling of lying on the stand, even going as far as accusing Easterling of perjuring himself. Easterling did admit his son went to Dixie Heights High School at the same time as the victim.

Easterling tells 9 News that he stands by his court testimony, and "as a judge to comment any further on the case would be inappropriate."

The lead detective in the case took the stand second. Asked if she was aware there are close to 40 false statements included in the case against the Joneses, Edgewood Police Department Detective Julie Inman responded with a "yes", adding there were some inconsistencies.

While on the stand, Inman said the text messages she read weren't sexual -- just inappropriate. Deters is arguing authorities have no confession, no statement from the alleged victim, and no incriminating evidence in the case. He says it's all based on rumors.

Sarah is fighting the charges she's facing, and so are the alleged victims' parents. The male student's parents say their son is no victim, and they're standing by the Joneses.

Circuit Judge Patricia Summe is expected to issue a written decision on the text message issue in the next few weeks.

A jury trial is set to begin Oct. 10.

Stay with 9 News and WCPO.com for updates as they become available.
 

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