The WABC-TV weather anchor told police last month that a Hispanic man tried to rape her while she was jogging in Central Park on Sept. 24. But Jones has since admitted making the whole thing up, police told AOL News today. WABC-TV announced the suspension today during a noon broadcast.
New York Post said the claims of assault became hazy when investigators found inconsistencies in her story and could find no witnesses or suspects. They said officers also questioned why Jones had waited two months before reporting the attempted rape. According to the Post, Jones may have spun the tale as a "plea for sympathy" because of trouble in her personal life.
Some said Jones' decision to describe her supposed attacker as Latino was disturbing. "Most people will never create a hoax but this story reflects the mindset of many more people who also think that if you want to make up a story and you want people to believe it, you should blame an African American man or a Latino," Lisa Navarrete, a spokeswoman for La Raza, a national Latino advocacy group, told AOL News today in a phone interview.
Police said Jones also claimed that the same person who assaulted her in the park later harassed her over the phone. Jones, 37, was arrested Monday and charged with two counts of filing a false police report, police said. A conviction could bring a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.
On the day of the arrest, postings on Jones' Facebook page gave no indication that anything was amiss. "
Jones could not be located for comment. Her attorney, Paul Callahan, said the accusations were still unproven. "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 told the New York Daily News in a statement.