Rick Jones, 21, became a cause celebre after he alleged that he was beaten and had a homophobic slur carved into his arm. In a case reminiscent of the Tawana Brawley case and some other more recent controversies (here and here), Jones has now admitted that it was a hoax.
Jones said that his ordeal began with a beating at his family’s pizza business that left him with head and facial bruising. A few days later, the family’s home was found spray-painted with a homophobic slur. On June 10, a rock and a molotov cocktail were thrown through the window of the home and their business was spray-painted, broken into and robbed of $1,000.
Jones became a rallying point for activists and supporters in raising money to “Stop Hate”:
He could now face charges in making a false police report that triggered an intense investigation. He also reportedly admitted that he made up accounts about harassment over his sexuality.
His attorney, Brett Tolman, however, insisted that this was just a “cry for help” and “it’s such good evidence of the difficulties members of the gay community deal with, and some make better choices than others.” Actually it is horrible evidence because it did not occur. Jones hurt his community which faces real discrimination and violence. His hoax will fuel those critics who deny such problems are real in resisting protections for the LGBT community.
Nevertheless, Tolman sees positive things coming from this hoax and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox (right) said publicly that he is relieved that the troubling allegations are not true and remained concerned for Jones and his family in their struggle to find “peace and healing.”
I certainly feel sympathy for this family but should the police charge Jones? After all, this not only wasted police resources but he created the real possibility of people being detained or arrested for this hoax.