Mom in case of teen girls dating older men accepts pretrial diversion

Stephanie L. Jones

A Somerset woman charged in connection to her daughters' relationships with men more than a decade older than them accepted a pretrial diversion earlier this month after pleading guilty to amended charges.

Stephanie Lynn Jones, 39, of Ohio Street, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree Criminal Abuse. A Pulaski County grand jury indicted her in January for two counts of first-degree Unlawful Transaction with a Minor (illegal sex acts under 16 and under 18).

In exchange for Jones' guilty plea, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney David Bridgeman reduced those charges to criminal abuse and recommended a five-year pretrial diversion -- meaning that if Jones complies with the conditions of the diversion and encounters no further legal trouble after five years, the conviction would no longer be included on her record.

Jones' diversion was granted in an order signed by Pulaski Circuit Judge Jerry Cox on October 20. Her diversion conditions include not having contact with the victims and complying with all Family Court and DCBS (Social Services) orders.

Two men were also indicted as Jones' co-defendants.

John Matthew Branham, 29, of Somerset, pleaded guilty last March to Unlawful Transaction with a Minor under 16 and was granted a two-year pretrial diversion.

Daniel E. Mills, 41, of Somerset, is scheduled for a pretrial conference in Pulaski Circuit Court on December 4 for two counts of third-degree Rape as well as first-degree Sexual Abuse and Prohibited Use of an Electronic Communication System to Procure a Minor for Sexual Offenses.

The case was investigated by Somerset Police Department.

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