Earlier in the week we reported that WABC-TV/Channel 7 weather forecaster Heidi Jones was accused of filing a false report with the NYPD for an attempted rape.

Now, Jones, through her lawyer, says that she never told police she was was a victim of attempted rape.

The lawyer says the characterization of the case as a ‘false rape claim’ is an attempted character assassination.

On Monday, Jones got swept up in a media firestorm when police handed Jones a ticket for false reporting. She had initially told them she was accosted by the same man on two occasions, while jogging in Central Park and again near her apartment.

Jones gave specific details of the alleged attack, claiming he was a stocky Hispanic male in his 30s wearing a black jeans jacket and blue jeans, about 5 feet 9 inches tall.

Jones was given a desk appearance ticket. 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.

WABC suspended Jones indefinitely while they conduct an internal investigation.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said valuable police resources and time were wasted on the investigation.

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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.

The complaint that prompted Kelly's mea culpa came Nov. 24 when Jones told police a few days earlier the Hispanic man who tried to rape her while she was jogging in the park came to her Manhattan apartment and threatened her.

"I don't know how she knows the commissioner," a source said. "But she was contacted by [Kelly] and was told Internal Affairs was investigating the Central Park Precinct."

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne denied the account and said Kelly never reached out to Jones.

But the 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.

The sometimes fill-in for "Good Morning America" also was driven to work by police.

"We don't do it on a typical victim," the source said. "We just don't provide that kind of assistance."

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.

That's when she was pulled back in for more questioning and finally cracked, telling the detectives that she had been leading them on a chase for a man who didn't exist, the source said.

Jones, who has been with WABC since 2005, was suspended indefinitely. The station said it planned an internal investigation of the arrest.

She is due in court on Jan. 5 and faces up to a year in prison if convicted of filing a false report.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2010/12/17/2010-12-17


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