Category Archives: Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones’ Defamation Judgment Thrown Out on Appeal

Ex-Ben-Gal Sarah Jones

Ex-Ben-Gal Sarah Jones

We’ve been busy around these parts and haven’t gotten to keep the blog as current as I’d like. I did want to take a brief moment and update on a case that we’ve followed extensively on Crimcourts, that of former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones. In addition to the criminal case related to the affair she had with one of the students she taught, she also had a defamation case against theDirty.com and its proprietor, Nik Ritchie. She was awarded a $300 thousand-plus judgment at trial, but this week an appellate court ruled that Mr. Ritchie was not liable for the postings of outside commentors. This is an important protection of Freedom of the Press for all websites, this one included, that mean that the publisher is not liable for the defamation of outside/ 3rd parties. The court confirmed that Ms. Jones was defamed by the comments on theDirty, but since theDirty did not post them, they were not liable.

Sarah Jones and Nik Richie In Court for Appeal of Defamation Judgment

Former Bengal Cheerleader Sarah Jones

Former Bengal Cheerleader Sarah Jones

Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones successfully sued theDirty.com publisher Nik Richie for rumors posted on his website. She was awarded over $300,000 by a Kentucky jury on the civil suit. The case will be heard today by the Federal Appellate court in Cincinnati. What’s at issue, and why the case is being watched by internet publishers everywhere, is the liability of the website for content that was not posted by theDirty, rather by internet commentors. The appellate decision will have far-reaching implications for internet publisher’s potential liability for third-party contributors. A decision probably won’t be handed down for several months.

Jones also made news for her relationship with a student for whom she was a teacher. She was convicted of a related misdemeanor in that case. Crimcourts has had extensive coverage of the Jones cases: https://crimcourts.wordpress.com/category/ohio/sarah-jones/

UPDATE: Cincinnati.com has more on the 1st Amendment implications of the court’s decision on this case.

Sarah Jones Wins Her Defamation Suit

Former Bengals Cheerleader Sarah Jones

Former Bengals Cheerleader Sarah Jones

Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones, (a cheerleader for the Cincinnati Bengals), won her defamation suit today in Federal Court in Northern Kentucky. The jury awarded her $338,000.00 for the harm to her reputation. The case is extremely noteworthy from a tech and journalistic point of view, because the judge ruled that thedirty.com and operator Nik Richie were not immune from liability for third-party comments. The judge distinguished the site because Richie solicited the comments and responded with more of his own. Essentially, the court found that he could be liable since he was involved in the comments, and the jury found him liable as well. However, the jury did not award Ms. Jones the multimillion-dollar verdict that Jones’ attorney Eric Deters asked for with the intent of putting the website out of business. Collecting on this judgment will still be a challenge for Jones and Deters.

Sarah Jones Going Back to Court on Her Civil Suit

Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones

Former Ben-Gal, Sarah Jones, is going back to court in her defamation suit against thedirty.com. The case went to trial several months ago, and ended in a hung jury. The second trial starts over from scratch, and promises to ratchet up the excitement. Among  Ms. Jones’ witnesses are former Bengal kicker Shayne Graham, while thedirty has listed her ex-husband and the detective who investigated her criminal case. Additionally, her attorney Eric Deters is fighting a suspension for unrelated sanctions by the bar. Since he is challenging the suspension, he is still able to practice law and try the case. It’s got everything: sex, pro sports, and betrayal. Jones’ attorney is asking for a judgment large enough to shut down the website, but has the substantial task of proving harm to the reputation of his client, whose reputation has suffered major public setbacks. It should be fun to follow.

http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/region_northern_kentucky/covington/Ex-Bengals-cheerleader-Sarah-Jones-vs-TheDirtycom-Expect-fireworks-in-retrial

Sarah Jones is Engaged to the Former Student with Whom She Had an Affair

former Ben-Gal captain, sarah jones

Sarah Jones

Former Cincinnati Ben-Gal Sarah Jones lost her teaching job and was convicted of some criminal misdemeanors for an illicit affair she conducted with one of her former (adult) students. It appears that the story may have a happy ending, as the Enquirer reports that she and the beau are now engaged. Young love! It began with a rocky start, but let’s hope it works out for the couple.

Hung Jury in Sarah Jones’ Defamation Case

Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones

Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones

The jury deadlocked after their second day of deliberation in the former Bengal cheerleader Sarah Jones’ defamation case against TheDirty.com and it’s owner, Nik Richie. According to wcpo.com, the jury was 9-1 in Jones’ favor, though this would only indicate liability, not what amount would be awarded. I have previously speculated that even if TheDirty is found liable, the 11 million dollars requested seems exhorbitant. Jones’ attorney, Eric Deters, has previoiusly indicated he would try the case again if the jury deadlocked. The results of this trial will have little to no bearing on any retrial of the case.

Sarah Jones, Former Bengal Cheerleader, Defemation Trial to Begin Today

Former Bengal Cheerleader Sarah Jones

Former Bengal Cheerleader Sarah Jones

Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones, who earlier entered a guilty plea in her criminal case, is going to trial this week on a civil case: for defamation. Her earlier case was covered extensively by Crimcourts. The defamation case actually predates her criminal case, going back a few years to come things posted on website TheDirty.com. On that site, she was accused of several things she disputes, including sleeping with one or more Cincinnati Bengals, contracting STDs from her former boyfriend, and having sex with a man in her classroom.

The case is interesting from a defamation standpoint. She is suing the website, and its owner ‘Nik Richie’, for making statements that harmed her reputation. The legal twist is that most of the offending comments were not generated by Richie, but by commenters on the website. Generally, websites are not responsible for content posted by others. That’s why Facebook doesn’t get sued every time anybody posts something libelous. However, Jones is claiming that since TheDirty exercises editorial control over the comments, that they are more akin to a newspaper that publishes defamatory statements. Richie counters that the only thing he personally posted is that she is a ‘freak’ in bed, and is claiming truth as a defense. To back it up, the defense is prepared to share some of the steamy text messages from Jones’ criminal case.

As a blogger, I hope that Richie is not found liable for the comments of others. TheDirty is probably going to see a surge of hits thanks to publicity for this trial: Crimcourts has already seen a surge thanks to our coverage of the earlier case. I am not a fan of Richie’s site, but I don’t think he should take an 11 million dollar hit for outside commenters. Even if liable, Jones will have difficulty proving damages. She already hurt her reputation immensely due to the illegal relationship she had with her student. She’s claiming this caused her to resign her job, but she was teaching until charges were brought in her criminal case. She has indicated an interest in law school, so she may end up earning more there than she would have in her teaching job anyway. I wish her luck as she pursues her law degree, and she is not likely to win retirement money in this suit.

http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/local_news/ex-bengals-cheerleaders-lawsuit-trial-to-begin

http://nky.cincinnati.com/viewart/AB/20130121/NEWS010704/301210070/Ex-Bengals-cheerleader-s-lawsuit-trial-begin