On September 14th former ABC weather reporter Heidi Jones plead guilty in front of a New York Judge to false filing misdemeanor charges related to an incident last September in which she told police that she had been sexually assaulted on two different occasions by an hispanic man in his 30′s or 40′s. The judge said that upon sentencing next month she will be placed under probation for three years and have to serve 350 hours of community service-or the amount of time police spent investigating her case. She will also have to undergo continued psychological therapy the nature and duration of which are still unspecified.
The plea bargain was the result of a nine month effort by her lawyer, Paul Callan, who said after the hearing “This has been a tragic case for Heidi Jones. She was at the pinnacle of the broadcast industry at ABC and Good Morning America and her life has really been destroyed, her professional life, by this incident, and Heidi, from the moment I first met with her, she wanted to accept personal responsibility for what she had done.” Jones herself stated that she “made it up for attention. I have so much stress at work, with my personal life and with my family,” according to the court produced document.
This stands in contrast to the legal behavior of Callan who originally filed to have the charges thrown out saying that she was being charged under the wrong statute in which she would have been tried for causing “public alarm”, a crime Callan said is usually reserved for bomb threats. The original allegation by Jones, a high profile news and weather person, caused much furor in Manhattan and when it was discovered that she may have lied caused much anger in the Latino population of New York. Callan also accused the prosecutors of bungling the case because they failed to bring the case to trial within 90 days of the first court appearance. The charges were eventually changed to filing a false report.
Most notably, last month Jones and her lawyer made a final and dramatic attempt to have the charges dropped when she filed court papers nearly a year after the incident claiming that she was coerced into making a confession to the police when they told her that her employers wouldn’t be notified of the charges leveled against her if she confessed.
An August 25th New York Daily News article reported:
“Callan is trying to get a judge to toss misdemeanor charges against Jones. The lawyer wrote in the court filing that police also said they would make her claim that she was attacked by a “Hispanic” man last fall disappear.
“[She was] advised that if she would just sign a confession incorporating the specific words and ideas of the lead detective, he would make sure that the ‘confession’ would never be seen by anyone other than his ‘bosses’ at [the] NYPD, and possibly the District Attorney’s Office,” Callan wrote.
Callan said cops told Jones eight out of 10 sex-crime allegations turn out to be false or are not prosecutable, but none of the accusers are ever charged.”
The charges were not dropped.
Typically, those falsely accused of rape do not get any such consideration when being charged. It is compulsory to notify employers of the accused immediately after arrest making for an easier prosecution due to the financial stress placed on the defendant. Likewise those falsely accused, even if they escape long term incarceration, frequently have their careers and lives destroyed. Though the assailant was completely fictional, the penalties in the plea bargain coped by Mr. Callan are very typical of those faced by false accusers after they confess or it is proven that they deliberately accused an innocent person of a crime who’s punishment routinely includes a long jail sentence.
A profile has been created for Jones at register-her.com due to the documented fact that she has engaged in a false allegation.