A former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader has publicly defended accused sex offender, Sarah Jones, just one week after the former English teacher pleaded not guilty to sex abuse charges.
Lindsay Vaughn claims that Jones is far from the criminal that she has been depicted as being in the media, and insists that the 26-year-old has "Christian" values and described her as being "a great girl," according to the "Today" show.
"Being a Ben-Gal is not just about the cheerleading outfit. I know you may see that, and that's something that is easy to hang onto in the news because it makes good headlines, but [Jones is] a real person. We're real people. We have families, we have careers. We represent ourselves in this community," Vaughn said on "Today."
Jones, who is the former captain of the Ben-Gals cheerleading squad, was recently indicted and charged with first-degree sexual abuse- a felony, for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a high school student while she was still a freshman English teacher at Dixie Heights High School in Edgewood, Ky.
Vaughn admits that the allegations against Jones are "terribly shocking," and far from the person that she knows Jones to be.
"She doesn't drink- doesn't party- probably totally opposite of what you think of when you think of an NFL glamorous, hot cheerleader," Vaughn said before explaining that Jones even traveled to Iraq last year to entertain U.S. troops.
Jones faces up to five years in prison if she is convicted of any charges, which include unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other illegal acts. Her mother, Cheryl Jones, faces a single charge of tampering with evidence in her daughter's case.
"The student denies it. The parents of the student are upset that this has gone where it has gone. They don't have anything bad to say about Sarah. Sarah denies it. There's no victim. There's nobody saying 'Hey, this happened,'" Jones' former attorney Eric Deters said on his radio show in December.
A pretrial date has been scheduled for June 11, and the trial is set to begin on June 27.