New Yorkers are buzzing about the sad, strange case of Heidi Jones – the television meteorologist who is facing a year in jail for lying to the police.
The story broke Wednesday, and caught on immediately: Jones, who worked for WABC-TV and occasionally filled in on ABC’s Good Morning America, told cops last month that she had been sexually assaulted in late September while jogging through Manhattan’s Central Park.
According to her allegation, as reported by the New York Post, Jones said she was running, an assailant (described as a 30- or 40- something Hispanic man) grabbed her, dragged her into the brush and tried to rape her. She said the attacker was scared off by two nearby people who came to help.
But police apparently had concerns about the story — namely her two-month wait to report the attack, a lack of suspects or witnesses coming forward, and other details that didn’t add up. When confronted by the police with discrepencies, Jones reportedly confessed, admitting she made up the story as a cry for attention in response to personal problems.
So on Monday she was offically charged by the police, for filing a false report which could result in a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. She was then suspended Wednesday from WABC. Her attorney, Paul Callaghan, quickly refuted the accusations made against her: “Ms. Jones has had a distinguished career as a broadcast journalist and urges all concerned to refrain from jumping to conclusions about the unproven charges against her being discussed in the press,” he said in a statement.