Sunday, December 19, 2010

UPDATED: The Heidi Jones False Rape Saga

On November 24, 2010, WABC weather forecaster Heidi Jones, 37, made a false police report when she claimed that a Hispanic man in his 30s or 40s had attacked her in Central Park while she was jogging exactly two months earlier on September 24.  

Jones now claims that she never used the word "rape," but disturbing new information reveals that Jones led New York police on a wild goose chase while they gave her special treatment not afforded to typical rape accuses.

Jones claimed that a man grabbed her from behind, then dragged her into a wooded area and attempted to rape her. The man bolted when two tourists saw the incident and screamed, she claimed.

Jones also claimed that the same man showed up near her Manhattan apartment two months later, on November 21, to threaten her. He allegedly told her: "I know you went to the police." (She had not gone to the police -- November 24 was the first time she reported the alleged incidents to police.)

According to the New York Post: ". . . for cops, the story was all wet.  The first clue was that she waited until Nov. 24, two months later, to report the alleged attack . . . ."

According to police, detectives conducted a lengthy investigation and canvassed the area for video and witnesses, but came up empty-handed.  They went to speak with Ms. Jones again, and noticed more inconsistencies in her story, unnamed New York Post sources said. 

While Jones now says she never said the word "rape," the New York Daily News repored the following:  "WABC-TV weatherwoman Heidi Jones was given 'round-the-clock protection by NYPD detectives before fessing up to sending cops on a wild-goose chase for her phony Central Park attacker, a police source said. Jones was even contacted by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who personally apologized to the meteorologist when she said two uniformed officers refused to take a police report after the bogus Sept. 24 assault, two other police sources said. . . . . . [NYPD spokesman Paul Browne denied the account and said Kelly never reached out to Jones.]  But the [New York Daily News] source, who is close to the investigation, said the 37-year-old forecaster was even given a small squad of detectives from the special victims unit to provide security for her.  'The order came from the higherups,' the source said. 'We were providing 24-hours protection. It's rarely done.'  Six detectives spent three weeks 'taking her wherever she needed to go,' the source said.  Some of the places included a flea market at Union Square, restaurants around the city, movie theaters and even walks with her dog on the West Side Highway, near where she lives, the source said. . . . .  But as Jones enjoyed the perks of being chauffeured around town by the city's Finest, she continued to flake out of meetings about her case with Internal Affairs detectives and prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney's office. Detectives grew even more suspicious of Jones' vague story when they listened to conversations she had with her sister during the rides.  'Her story was inconsistent,' the source said, adding that dozens of man-hours were also lost poring over surveillance footage from the park in search of a man that fit the description she gave of her attacker. 'All the videos were coming back with no results,' the source said."

After being confronted with the discrepancies, a source said Miss Jones admitted that she had made up the story.

Jones allegedly told police she was having problems in her relationship and thought reporting the bogus crimes would gain her sympathy.

Jones has been suspended by the station pending an investigation.  She is due in court on Jan. 5, and could face up to a year in prison if convicted.

When staffers at the TV station learned that Jones had been lying all along their sympathy turned to outrage. "All this trust we had is shattered. We're like a family. We feel betrayed," the source said, adding that it had become "common knowledge" around the newsroom that Jones claimed to have been attacked in late September. "To the point that security guards would offer to escort her home," the source said.

Police sources said Jones had admitted to filing the false report because she suffered from "personal and professional pressures" and wanted to gain "sympathy" over an undisclosed personal issue.

Jones’ attorney said she is urging people to refrain from jumping to conclusions about the unproven charges against her.

Ironically, in 2007, Jones co-hosted a television show celebrating the anniversary of Central Park.

According to Jones' personal website,, her 'motto' is this: "If you knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you try?"


One female writer pondered Jones' motivation: "So what kind of personal problems prompt a woman to pretend she’s been raped? As a woman, the only thing I can think of is maybe you’ve gotten some kind of STD that you need to account for in some way other than how you actually acquired it. I can see how if she tried to sell that story to her significant other, it could just all blow up in her face…as it obviously has."

Jones' purported motivation matches one of the common motivations of false rape accusers cited by experts in the field. In one landmark report, Dr. Eugene Kanin identified "Attention/Sympathy-Getting Device" as one of the three most common reasons for false rape claims in a study he had undertaken.  Dr. Kanin wrote:

"Although this device seems to be the most extravagant use for which a false rape charge is made, it is also the most socially harmless in that no one was identified as the rapist. Approximately 18% (n = 8) of the false charges clearly served this function. The entire verbalization of the charge is, by and large, a fabrication without base."

Identification of Alleged Hispanic Attacker

False rape claims are not divorced from the culture in which they are made. To enhance the plausibility of the lie and to jack up its scariness quotient, many false rape claims tap into stereotypes and widely shared prejudices by identifying imaginary minority males as the perpetrator, especially blacks and Hispanics, because of the perceived greater likelihood of black and Hispanic men to be involved in violent criminal activity than Caucasian males.

In this case, Jones concocted an imaginary Hispanic man as her would-be rapist.

The Lunatic Fringe Chimes In

And now, a word from the lunatic fringe. We've been waiting for the spinning to start in the blogosphere in an attempt to lessen the evil of false rape claims, but the following loopy comment has so much spin it might make you dizzy. It speculates that the lie was a product of . . . rape culture! Of course! Just read:

"I’m going to go out on a limb and say that perhaps there’s something else she really wanted to tell the world through this blatant cry for help. Maybe she’s severely depressed. Maybe there’s someone at work who has been harassing her. Maybe she really was raped by someone she knows and is truly scared to press charges. Maybe she’s trying to work out some sort of sexual assault from her past. Whatever she’s covering up, it has to be big, right?" Link:

But, "it has to be big"? Um, no, it does not. Cases from the not-distant past thoroughly debunk that assumption. A woman tried to destroy the life of a man she didn't know with a rape lie because he wouldn't give her a beer. A maid accused her employer of rape because she didn't like her workload. A girl accused a man of rape for throwing a flower at her. A woman falsely accused her lover of rape because he had the bad manners to go speak with a roommate after having sex instead of staying with her.

One woman told a rape lie to avoid trouble for being late for work. Another caused three men to be interrogated for rapes they didn't commit, all because she wanted a day off from work. Another had her boyfriend arrested for rape because he took too long to buy cigarettes. Several women didn't want to pay cab fares, so they accused innocent cab drivers, working class nobodys, of rape.

Another woman sent a man to prison for five years because she was bored. As awful as each of those reasons are, some women need no excuse at all. An 18-year-year-old boy was hauled out of class, arrested, and jailed for a month on a random false rape claim by a girl he'd never met.

Cites to each of these are found in this post: