Millionaire Cleared in Rape Case Calls Experience 'Devastating'

Published: 22nd January 2008
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City News Service
July 27, 2001 Friday

BYLINE: By TERRI VERMEULEN KEITH, City News Service

DATELINE: LOS ANGELES

A millionaire businessman acquitted of charges that he sexually assaulted nine women, seven of whom allegedly were drugged, said today that the allegations have been "a devastating experience."

"The nightmare is over, absolutely. I'm looking forward to just relaxing and going back to work, and salvaging a lot of the money that I've lost and just looking forward to a new life and getting married and having a family," John Gordon Jones said at a downtown news conference.

Jones spent more than two years in county jail without bail until a Long Beach Superior Court jury acquitted him yesterday of 29 charges, including kidnapping, rape of an unconscious person, rape by use of drugs and sexual battery.

The 46-year-old owner of Worldtech Computer in Encino, which he had helped to run from jail, maintained that he had been "wrongfully accused."

"They falsified documents, they hid documents. There was prosecutorial misconduct that was just to an unbelievable, devastating state," the businessman said.

"Well, what happened is the District Attorney's Office wanted to have a GHB date rape case, and they wanted to go ahead and prosecute me no matter what the truth was.

"They went ahead and they got these women to go ahead and say false allegations against me, with blackouts that never existed, by lying. When these women wanted to back out, I believe that they forced them to go ahead with their stories," Jones said.

One of Jones' lawyers, Milton Grimes, said his client is "thinking very seriously of suing the county for false imprisonment because of the incompetent investigation in this case."

"Nine different women caused this man, this man here, to sit in jail wrongfully for 793 days over two years with wrongful allegations," Grimes said.

On behalf of the district attorney, Sandi Gibbons said her "office will not be commenting on such silly allegations that aren't true anyway."

The woman whose allegations launched the case against Jones claimed he had date-raped her and that she got home after spending the night with him and believed she had been drugged, Grimes said.

"Well, when she was tested the next day, it turned out that she had snorted a considerable amount of cocaine, which would definitely inhibit or prohibit or keep anyone from being knocked out, so this is the young lady that started this avalanche going," the defense lawyer said.

He noted that the jurors cleared his client after taking a field trip to Jones' home.

"Once the jury went out to the residence of Mr. Jones and viewed it, they had no doubt of his innocence because the descriptions of some of the women were that they were locked in bedrooms that turned out to have no locks on the doors," Grimes said.

Another of Jones' lawyers, Richard Sherman, said his client became the "poster boy for date rape."

"He was a rich man, he was a prominent man in the business community and they took him into custody. They never investigated the allegations of the first victim, the alleged victim. Had they done that, they would have realized that he didn't do that and that she was not telling ... a true story," Sherman said.

Jones said he learned that "county jail is very rough," and that he was jumped and beaten up while on the county jail bus.

"It has been a devastating experience with tremendous loss of income. And it took a lot of praying and a man like Milton Grimes and (private investigator and former LAPD detective) Bill Pavelic and Mr. Sherman to prove my innocence," he said.

Jones and his lawyers said they believed the case was motivated by his wealth and the prospect that the women might get hefty legal judgments in civil lawsuits if he had been convicted.

The women "started coming forward" with the allegations after the District Attorney's Office went to the media in December 1998 and "asked are there any victims out there who have been victimized by the alleged millionaire limousine rapist?" Grimes said.

"I don't think there'd be any charges if I didn't have any money, there would have been no charges, absolutely not," Jones said.

Jones, who had faced the possibility of consecutive life prison sentences if convicted, said he spent his first night of freedom in more than two years at a gathering with his mom and some of his friends.

"It's like starting all over again, really. Just driving the car was amazing," he said, adding that he plans to go back to work next Monday at his company, which sells laser jet cartridges and office products nationwide. "Basically, I'm just happy to be free."

The case against two other people indicted along with Jones in April 1999 on a much smaller number of charges is under review given the jury's verdict in Jones' case, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Pina Marie Colapinto and Lawrence Elliott are awaiting trial next month in downtown Los Angeles.


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