The Sarah Jones story really has gone global, as it’s attracted visitors here from around the world, as you can see on my stats image, above. Yesterday saw visitors from Malaysia, Egypt and Taiwan! Kudos to wcpo.com for leading the coverage on this, especially Kendall Herold. You can see the full story on their website, including video of Ms. Jones and the victim leaving the courtroom hand-in-hand. As her attorney, Eric Deters, says on the video, there is nothing wrong with her having a relationship with the boy at this time.
But wait, isn’t the age of consent 16 in Kentucky? Wasn’t the “victim” 17 at the time of the offense? That’s correct, except that Kentucky, like many other states, has a statute prohibiting sexual contact between minors and persons in a position of trust. So, 16-year-old girl dates a 30-year-old… no problem. But if a 17-year-old boy has contact with his cheerleader-teacher, she commits First Degree Sexual Abuse. But for some prosecutorial discretion, she would be a felon, face prison time, and be branded a sex offender for the next decade or two (25 years in Florida). Kudos to Ms. Farmer and the Commonwealth for having the good sense to resolve this case equitably. Unfortunately, legislators around the country pass these harsh laws but many times prosecutors aren’t willing to be as reasonable as Mr. Farmer. Obviously, it’s important to protect children from abuse of persons in positions of trust, but the dangerous sexual predators should be handled differently than consensual situations between near-adults.
The wcpo.com reports states that Ms. Jones will comment further on her relationship with the “victim” at some future date. I will keep an eye out for that and post any updates on this blog as they become available. Until then, I will have to find another story that gives me an excuse to run pretty cheerleader photos. She had to give up her teaching career due to her own bad choices, and isn’t going to try to go back to the Ben-Gals. Deters reports that she has been working in his office as a legal assistant, and that she’s considering law school. Crimcourts wishes her the best of luck in her future endeavors. It’s good that a lapse in judgment, while immediately devastating, won’t prevent her from moving on and having a happy, productive life. Good work by Eric Deters and the Commonwealth attorneys for working this out reasonably. #sarahjones