SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

December 11, 2013

Marblehead man admits to raping woman, posting photos online

Judge cites 'particularly malicious' crime

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — MARBLEHEAD — The young woman had long dreamed of living in Marblehead, she told a Salem Superior Court judge yesterday.

She loved to sail and kayak, things she could enjoy easily in town.

“I was in heaven,” she said.

Then she met Reid Jones.

Yesterday, Jones, 44, pleaded guilty to raping and indecently assaulting the young woman while she was unconscious — and photographing what he did, then creating a phony Facebook page in the woman’s name and posting those photos.

His motive, prosecutors say: she had spurned his romantic advances.

Jones was sentenced by Judge Howard Whitehead to five to seven years in state prison on the rape charge, with concurrent 41/2- to five-year terms for indecent assault and battery and secretly photographing a person in the nude.

“The crime is particularly malicious,” said Whitehead. It created not only physical trauma, but an ongoing emotional trauma for the victim.

“You can take the pictures down, but you can’t remove the impression people formed when they saw those photos,” said the judge.

When he gets out of prison Jones will spend five years on probation on the identity fraud charge, with conditions that include a GPS monitoring bracelet, registering as a sex offender, sex offender treatment, a substance abuse evaluation and random drug and alcohol tests.

He’s also been ordered to have no contact with the young woman, who has since moved hours away from Marblehead, a town she says she was driven from after many of Jones’ family and friends took his side when the allegations became public.

“I could not walk my own dog down the street without being made to feel like a piece of meat or a piece of trash,” said the woman, whose name is being withheld because she is the victim of a sexual assault.

Before that, in the summer of 2010, the woman and Jones, a local chef, were part of a larger group of friends who socialized in town or at each others’ homes. Their relationship, the woman said, was strictly platonic.

One night in August, she and others were at Jones’ home for a dinner party. She fell asleep there, she told police.

As the weeks went by, Jones became “possessive,” showing up one night while she was out with friends, sending constant text messages, and stopping by her house, said prosecutor Kate MacDougall.

Her friends told her that Jones was interested in her. But she wasn’t interested in him as anything more than a friend.

Finally, she’d had enough and cut off contact, said the prosecutor.

Jones called Marblehead police and claimed that the woman was suicidal, leading to a well-being check by police that ended up with police kicking in her door, MacDougall said.

About a month later, she got a call from one of their mutual friends. Jones had created a Facebook page using her name and personal information.

When the woman saw what he’d posted, she became physically sick, said the prosecutor. There were images of an unconscious woman, partially nude, posed in various positions. Other photos were found on Flickr, a photo sharing site. One of those photos showed Jones committing an act that, legally, is considered rape.

When the judge asked Jones if those allegations were true, Jones shrugged with one shoulder and said, “They are.”

His guilty pleas came on the day jury selection was scheduled to start in the case, which has been pending for more than three years.

“Mr. Jones has expressed nothing that remotely resembles remorse,” said MacDougall, the prosecutor, who was seeking a longer prison term of seven to nine years.

Even when told by a friend who had seen the photos that “I think you could get into trouble,” MacDougall told the judge, Jones didn’t think he’d done anything wrong.

Jones, said the prosecutor, “wasn’t satisfied with having gotten away with it. He had to humiliate her by putting it on the Internet.”

It took months for Facebook to agree to take down the phony page, but there are no guarantees that the images aren’t still floating around online somewhere, the prosecutor said.

The woman said she still fears that people she meets, or potential employers, will find those images online.

As the victim spoke, some of Jones’ family members sat in the courtroom gallery, scowling. One person in the group of Jones supporters let out a long, loud sigh as the woman described struggling to make ends meet after she lost clients because of the case.

MacDougall, who addressed the judge after the woman, suggested that anyone who believes she was complicit in the rape “should be ashamed of themselves.”

Jones’ attorney, William Korman, said little during the hearing yesterday, other than telling the judge that Jones “knows what a trial could do” to the woman. Korman had urged a shorter, two- to three-year prison term for his client.

The woman said she is now focusing on her new life, but still wants to pursue legal action against Facebook. The social networking site ignored requests from the lead investigator on the case, now-retired police detective Marion Keating, then the district attorney’s office, which eventually had to obtain a court order to have the site taken down.

And she’s furious that Jones was allowed to remain on Facebook despite the charges, posting updates on his travels after he made bail, said the woman.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.