NEW YORK – A meteorologist on ABC's local New York station was suspended Wednesday after police said she made up claims she was assaulted in Central Park.
Heidi Jones of WABC-TV told police Nov. 24 that a man had tried to rape her a month earlier as she ran in Central Park. She said the same person harassed her outside her apartment Nov. 21 at 7:50 a.m.
Police investigated, speaking to possible witnesses and canvassing the area for a person matching description she gave of her alleged attacker: a stocky, Hispanic man dressed in a black jean jacket and blue jeans, about 5 feet 9 inches tall. Police said Jones admitted fabricating the story when investigators went back to her to discuss the case.
She was given a desk appearance ticket for false reporting, which is akin to a traffic violation and does not require the suspect be taken into custody. The charge is a misdemeanor and she was scheduled to appear in court Jan. 15. If convicted, she could face a year in prison and fines.
Jones' attorney, Paul Callan, told The Associated Press that his client would plead not guilty to any charges.
"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," Callan said.
Jones also fills in on "Good Morning America." WABC said Wednesday that Jones has been suspended pending an internal investigation. She worked previously in Billings, Mont., and Houston and has been with WABC for about five years.
She has a blog centered on running, where she talks about her love of the sport and her time spent running in Central Park and other locations. Her motto, according to the site, is "if you knew you wouldn't fail, what would you try?"