Ex-Bengal cheerleader's libel lawsuit trial starts

Ex-Bengal cheerleader's libel lawsuit trial starts

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) A former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader who had sex with her underage student told him she fell in love the first time he walked into the classroom where she was teaching freshman English, according to text messages read in court Tuesday.

New details about Sarah Jones' relationship with the teen came out in a northern Kentucky courtroom during the first day of the trial stemming from her defamation lawsuit against a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based gossip website and its owner.

Jones is asking a jury to award her $11 million for lewd posts made about her on, saying they caused her severe mental and emotional distress and weren't true. The posts in question were unrelated to her relationship with the student and were made before any accusations about it surfaced.

Her attorney, Eric Deters, is arguing that the jury should award her damages for the time between when the posts were made in 2009 and February 2011, when Jones admitted in her criminal trial to beginning a relationship with the former student, who was 17 at the time.

But attorneys for told jurors that text messages between Jones and the student indicate the relationship began earlier.

``I fell in love with you a long time ago,'' Jones texted to the teen in November 2011. ``I knew when I saw you we'd be together, freshman year. It's weird because you were like, 14, and I was like, 22 ... It was love at first sight.''

Alex Ward, one of the attorneys for and its owner, Hooman Karamian, told jurors in opening statements that the text messages prove that Jones is sexually immoral and, therefore, the posts about her are not defamatory.

Jones, who is now 27, took the stand and testified that she didn't fall in love with the teen when he was 14, and only told him that because he can be insecure and she was trying to reassure him. The former teacher pleaded guilty to charges that she had sex with the teen but avoided jail time. The two are still in a relationship.

Jones is suing Karamian, who goes by the name Nik Richie and lives in Orange County, Calif., over two posts in October and December of 2011.

In the first, Jones is pictured smiling for the camera with a former kicker for the Bengals with a caption that says she had sex with every single member of the team.

The second showed her in a bikini from one of the Bengals calendars, claimed that her ex-husband contracted chlamydia and gonorrhea after cheating on her with more than 50 women, and that he likely gave it to her.

Richie said in an interview last week that the comments came from someone who knew Jones and had access to photos she posted on Facebook. He said the only thing he wrote about Jones was in the second post, saying, ``Why are all high school teachers freaks in the sacks?''

Jones began crying during her testimony Tuesday, saying that she repeatedly begged Richie to take the posts down before resorting to a lawsuit. She said he and his fans - known as the Dirty Army - continue to post negative comments about her.

``I just want him to leave me alone,'' she said through tears. ``I don't want to be posted on his website anymore.''

She said the posts made her sick to her stomach and depressed, caused her to lose 10 pounds and made her job as a teacher uncomfortable.

Richie's attorneys told jurors that Jones was a convicted felon and admitted liar who was just trying to get a big check over the posts.

They pointed to more text messages between Jones and the teen. In them, she said she wanted to buy a house with pink shutters, a pink swimming pool and a bowling alley in the basement with pink bowling balls. She tells the teen that she'd buy him a white Mercedes.

``This is a money grab,'' Ward told jurors. ``She's a convicted felon because she's a teacher who had sex with a student. Point-blank, she used her position of authority to seduce a student, and that's the reason she'll never be a teacher again, not some post on thedirty.''

Deters said Jones was seeking a large financial reward to punish Richie and make sure he can't post anything else about her or anyone else.

``We want you to award, in honesty, as much money as you can stomach,'' he said. ``We're going to ask you to do that to put him out of business.''

Richie has been posting racy photos and biting comments for years on his website, mostly picking apart women's looks.

The photos that Richie posts are sometimes submitted by the women themselves seeking Richie's opinion, but more often they are posted by people who want to gossip about someone else. Many of the comments are harsh, but Richie argues that the people posted to the site are usually there for a reason, such as being unfaithful or promiscuous.

Jones resigned as a teacher at Dixie Heights High School in northern Kentucky and from the Bengals cheer squad in late 2011 after four years with both jobs. Deters said at the time that Jones had done nothing wrong and stepped down because a rumor that she had become involved with a student became too much.


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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 24, 33 days before the NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

Free agency update: What's next for the Redskins on the D-line? The Redskins have been casting out lines for defensive linemen since before free agency officially started but they haven’t been able to reel one in. Part of the issue might be that they know that Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne are likely to be available in the draft. They have to balance spending big on a lineman vs. being able to get one pretty cheap for the next five years.

Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility—Speaking of the D-line, the team negotiated the removal of a salary guarantee for one player to give themselves more flexibility when it comes time to cut the roster down to 53 in September. See the post for details.

Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract—In the words of Joe Biden, this is a big f-----g deal. It showed that the Redskins aren’t afraid to pay a quarterback big money if they think it’s the right guy. It should be noted that whether or not they chose the right guy is something that remains to be seen. Although the post shows that it’s plausible for the Redskins to terminate the deal after three years, I anticipate Smith playing out at least four if not all five years of the contract.

Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign Scandrick—Orlando Scandrick has struggled with injuries the past few years and Redskins fans did not greet the news of his signing with great enthusiasm, to say the least. To point out the bright side, his contract is not pricey by NFL terms ($2.6 million cap hit this year, no guaranteed money beyond a $1 million signing bonus) and from what I have been able to gather it’s possible that change of scenery might give him a boost for a year or two.

Tweet of the week

Well before free agency started, I wrote that the Redskins’ top priorities in free agency should be to get extensions done for Smith, Brandon Scherff, and Jamison Crowder. They should have about $15 million to work with after a few more free agent signings and that would be plenty to get all of those extensions done. And if they do score a big free agent signing, it would be worth it to restructure the contract of someone like Ryan Kerrigan to get them done.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 23
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 124
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 169

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