According to the New York Post, Heidi Jones, WABC’s weatherwoman and meteorologist on channel 7, was arrested after she claimed she had been raped this past fall. It is alleged that Ms. Jones claimed that a man had tried to drag her into an area of Central Park in Manhattan, but failed after people passing by came to her aid. It is alleged that the police became suspicious after it took Ms. Jones approximately two months to report the incident and inconsistencies developed in her story after being questioned multiple times.
Based on the New York Post’s report, it appears that Ms. Jones is charged with New York Penal Law section 240.50(3)(a) – Falsely Reporting an Incident. Although the article does not specifically mention this section and the case information is not on the New York State Court System website, New York Penal Law 240.50(3) states in pertinent part:
A person is guilty of Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree when, knowing the information reported, conveyed or circulated to be false or baseless, she gratuitously reports to a law enforcement officer or agency the alleged occurrence of an offense or incident which did not in fact occur.
Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree is an “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. Despite this potential punishment, it is highly unlikely Ms. Jones would see any time on Rikers Island. Her criminal lawyer will likely mitigate her conduct by arguing that no specific person was identified or arrested, Ms. Jones has no criminal record and that Ms. Jones was either suffering from or dealing with personal or emotional issues at the time of the alleged incident. It is even possible that with the right approach, Ms. Jones avoids a criminal conviction for her alleged false rape claim. Her status as a TV anchor is an entirely different matter all together.
Crotty Saland PC is a New York criminal defense firm founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors. The New York criminal lawyers at Crotty Saland PC represent the accused from investigation to trial throughout the New York City region. Additional information on criminal statutes, legal decisions and cases in the news can be found on the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog.