Heidi Jones, a NYC-based meteorologist, admitted to fabricating a story regarding an alleged rape at the hands of a Latino man in Central Park this week, and is now facing misdemeanor charges and possibly a year in jail for creating a false report. I was on The Early Show with Jack Ford talking with Harry Smith about the story and why a woman, who seemingly had a lot going for her would end up in this situation.
According to reports, Ms. Jones reported that she was having some relationship troubles and acted in this manner to elicit sympathy and support. Seems like a lot to go through to gain sympathy, no? Many people are saying so. Clearly, Ms. Jones is experiencing a great deal of difficulty in her life and lacks the ability to cope effectively with whatever problems she is having. There are many hypotheses we could make regarding this, and only Ms. Jones knows the truth about why she acted in the manner that she did. Her emotions clearly got the better of her, impacting her judgment and creating more difficulty than she could have ever imagined.
One of the reasons cited for questioning Ms. Jones is the length of time she took to report the incident. Many victims do not report assaults right away. A client of mine waited 10 months before telling anyone that she was raped. The delay in reporting does not indicate that the incident did not happen. Many victims have difficulty acknowledging what occurred due to fear, disbelief, frustration, anger, worry that they won’t be believed, and many other reasons. An individual’s story cannot be discounted just because they did not come forward immediately after it occurred.
In my opinion, the long and short of it is this: Ms. Jones clearly has some deep-seated issues that prompted her to act in such a way. Hopefully, she is going to get the help she needs to work through this and move ahead in her life. It will not be an easy road, yet it is a road she must travel.
Additionally, individuals often on the front lines of these reports: mental health workers, law enforcement officers, friends and family members need to take the accusations seriously. These types of false reports cannot take the spotlight from the true reports or the trauma and victimization will continue.
What are your thoughts on Ms. Jones’ actions?Hear my thoughts, along with the legal ramifications, from this morning’s segment here: