Jeffrey Jones Pleads No Contest

Ferris Bueller star cops plea to kiddie-porn charge; ordered to register as a sex offender

By Lia Haberman Jul 08, 2003 9:15 PMTags

Jeffrey Jones, best known as vengeful principal Ed Rooney in the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, has pleaded no contest to a felony charge of hiring a teenage boy for an X-rated photo shoot.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Horwitz immediately sentenced the 56-year-old thesp to five years of probation and ordered him to register as a sex offender and undergo counseling, according to Los Angeles' City News Service.

The judge also barred Jones from possessing kiddie porn and advised him to notify his parole officer if he plans to travel outside California.

Jones spoke outside the court, saying, "This concludes a really painful chapter in my life. I'm sorry that this incident was allowed to occur. Such an event has never happened before, and it will never happen again."

The actor was arrested last November following a yearlong investigation prompted by an unidentified teenager's allegations to authorities that Jones used him for "alleged criminal acts of a sexual nature," according to the LAPD.

Jones, who has remained free on $20,000 bail since his arrest, had, until recently, maintained his innocence, entering a not guilty plea in January to the charge of "using a minor for prohibitive acts" and a misdemeanor count of possessing child pornography.

As a result of his plea Tuesday, the misdemeanor charge of possession or control of child pornography was dropped.

Authorities have asserted that the charges against Jones did not involve any sex acts.

"He's not accused of touching or having physical contact with any minors whatsoever. He didn't do anything of that nature," one of Jones' attorneys, Leonard Levine, told reporters.

Regardless, his client "will follow the law" and register as an offender said Levine, adding, "these laws are very encompassing and they bring in a lot of people who, obviously, we feel are no more danger to society than you or I. But he will comply with the law, and he will move on with his life."

Prosecutors announced they were pleased with a sentence they believed to be "fair and equitable," said Jane Robison of the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office. "What we thought was of greater importance is that he's going to have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life."

Jones is one of Tinseltown's most identifiable character actors. Aside from his Bueller stint, he played Winona Ryder's father in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice and Emperor Joseph the II in Milos Forman's Oscar-winning Amadeus. He also appeared in later Burton productions like Ed Wood and, most recently, Sleepy Hollow.

"He hopes the public understands this was an aberration in his life, one mistake in judgment," Levine said, stating that it was "just a case about photographs."

"He hopes, at some point, the public will forgive him and he can go on with his life and his career," Levine continued.

Jones will be able to gauge public reaction to his presence when he appears in a new HBO series debuting in 2004. Deadwood, a new western drama created by David Milch (NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues), takes place in 1876 in Deadwood, South Dakota, weeks after Custer's defeat at Little Big Horn.