July 30, 2012: Sarah Jones, left, former Dixie Heights High School teacher and Cincinnati Ben-Gal cheerleader, and her mother, Cheryl Jones leave Kenton Circuit Court in Covington, Ky., after a motion hearing on charges against Jones of first degree sexual abuse for allegedly having sexual contact with a 17-year-old student when she was a teacher. (AP)
Sarah Jones, right, is seen cheerleading for the Cincinnati Bengals.Fox19
Sarah JonesKenton County Detention Center
The former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader sentenced to probation for having sex with a high school student she taught admits she made a “poor choice,” but said she has found love.
Sarah Jones, 27, admitted to Dateline NBC that her relationship with 18-year-old Cody York was wrong but said that choice shouldn’t stop her and the teen who was in Jones’ freshman English class at a northern Kentucky high school in 2008 from enjoying happiness.
“There’s no gray area … what I did was wrong,” Jones said in an interview that aired early Friday. “We made a poor choice together, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find happiness at the end of the day.”
Jones, who pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct and custodial interference, will not have to serve prison time if she completes terms of her probation for five years. According to court records, Jones filed for an annulment from her ex-husband, Nathan Wilburn, in February and a certified dissolution of the marriage was issued in June. Most recently, a judge has issued a restraining order preventing Wilburn — who had threatened to break Jones’ neck — from contacting her.
“The truth will set you free,” Jones told NBC’s Jeff Rossen. “The truth fell off of me and I didn’t have to hide anymore.”
York, for his part, said he didn’t want to be characterized as a victim in the case.
“I didn’t like being called the victim because I wasn’t the victim,” York said. “I always looked at her as a friend.”
York, who said he pursued Jones romantically, said the tryst was “worth” all the trouble it has brought the couple.
“It was worth it,” he said. “I never thought in a million years this would happen.”
Jones’ lawyer has said she now hopes to become an attorney herself with her cheerleading career likely behind her. Jones had taught at Dixie Heights High School before resigning last November. She also stepped down from the Bengals cheer squad in late 2011 after four years with the team.
Jones added: “He’s wonderful … Even if he does have flaws, I adore them. If you can love someone at their lowest, that says a lot.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.