NEW YORK (CBS 2/ 1010 WINS/WCBS 880) — A Channel 7 weather anchor was suspended from her job on Wednesday, after police said she filed a phony police report about being stalked and assaulted in Central Park.
Soon after her weather forecast Saturday night, WABC-TV meteorologist Heidi Jones was picked up by detectives who were waiting in the ABC studios for her to finish. According to sources close to the investigation, detectives had concluded that her story about almost being raped while jogging in Central Park was a lie.
Police sources said Jones claimed a man tackled her from behind on Sept. 24, but she reported the incident through ABC security on Nov. 24. Police said when her story fell apart, Jones was arrested.
“She stated that she had some personal problems and that the facts, the information, that she had given to the police initially was incorrect,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
Kelly also told 1010 WINS’ reporter Carol D’Auria that valuable police resources and time were wasted on the investigation.
In a statement, Jones’ attorney, Paul Callan, said: “Ms. Jones … urges all concerned to refrain from jumping to conclusions about the unproven charges against her. She intends to enter a plea of not guilty to any criminal charges lodged in this matter.”
Police said Jones told them her attacker was a Latino and gave other details about his description. CBS 2′s Pablo Guzman has learned that the police actually picked up a Latino for questioning. He was quickly let go and was not arrested.
The personal problems police said were a breakup in a relationship. Psychiatrist Dr. Eric Hollander, of Montefiore and Albert Einstein, said filing a false rape charge can sometimes happen.
“These individuals sometimes have a history of early abuse or neglect which leads to some difficulties in inter-personal relationships,” Hollander said.
In a career at ABC, Jones has often filled in on shows like “Good Morning America.” WABC has suspended Jones and a source at WABC said her picture has been taken down from the hallway.
If convicted Jones could face up to a year in prison. Her arrest came 10 months after former WABC sports anchor Marvell Scott was charged with raping a 14-year-old runaway.
Scott could face a trial early next year.
And in October, Fox 5 reporter Charles Leaf was charged with molesting a 5-year-old girl inside his New Jersey home. Leaf is out on bail.