Text messages will be allowed in ex-Ben-Gal Sarah Jones' trial
Bill Price, firstname.lastname@example.org
2:27 PM, Oct 2, 2012
8:48 AM, Oct 3, 2012
COVINGTON, Ky. - A judge decided Tuesday that text messages will be considered as evidence in the trial of ex-Ben-Gal cheerleader and teacher Sarah Jones.
The text messages were between Jones and a 17-year-old student she is accused of having sex with while she worked at Dixie Heights High School in Northern Kentucky.
Jones and her attorney Eric Deters had asked Kenton County Circuit Court Judge Patricia Summe to throw out the text messages, but the judge denied the motion to suppress.
"I was disappointed," Deters said.
Deters said he is still confident he can get an acquittal in the case, because the text messages don't prove the charges against his client.
"They're embarrassing to Sarah and that's why we wanted to suppress them," Deters said. "They really are not going to have an impact on the trial. They might make the trial more sexy but they have nothing to do with the Cheryl Jones' charges. They have nothing to do... in fact, they're going to help on the electronic communication charge because they will reveal that there was no solicitation."
Jones is charged with using her position of authority to coerce a student into engaging in a sexual relationship and sending him inappropriate text messages.
Jones is indicted for first degree sexual abuse and unlawful use of electronic means, like the text messages, to induce a minor to engage in sexual activities.
Deters said prosecutor Sara Farmer released the text messages even though they were supposed to be sealed. According to Farmer, 27-year-old Jones sent the alleged victim a text message that read: "Deny everything."
Deters asked the court to suppress the text messages or dismiss all charges because, according to him, the news reports would taint the jury pool and hurt his defense.
During a previous hearing, Deters said the content of the sealed text messages were once again released when Assistant Commonwealth Attorney John Balliet described them as "steamy."
According to Deters, it was once again "blatant and intentional violation of the sealed text messages." Because of Balliet's "steamy" description, Deters plans to file a motion of contempt against him as well.
In addition to the motion, Deters included a letter from the alleged victim's parents who have maintained that throughout the entire case their son was no victim and all charges should be dropped.
Jones resigned from her teaching position in November.
Jones' mother, Cheryl, who was the principal at Twenhofel Middle School in Independence, has been indicted for tampering with evidence related to Sarah's charges.
Deters plans to enter a new motion on Wednesday asking that the Kentucky law that Sarah Jones is charged under be ruled "unconstitutional."
Deters says in Kentucky it is legal for a 17-year-old to marry a 24-, 25- or 26-year-old, if they get their parents' consent. He says it's "unbelievable" that Kentucky makes it a crime for a 17-year-old to have a consensual relationship with a 20-year-old, even with a parent's consent.
Jones' trial is scheduled to start in Kenton County Court on Oct. 10.
Stay with 9 News and WCPO.com for the latest on the Jones' trials.