The Villain Of A Beloved ‘80s Romp Has A Real-Life Criminal History

One of the most memorable movies of '80s is Ferris Bueller's Day Off, in which protagonist Ferris squares off with uptight Principal Rooney, played by Jeffrey Jones, a character actor who played no shortage of cinematic villains and supporting characters throughout the 1980s and 1990s. While so many of the actors and actresses from the film continued on to have great careers, Jones's life and career have taken a different direction.

Unfortunately, the movie industry has no lack of celebrity sex offenders, and Jeffrey Jones has earned his place for taking nude photos of a 14-year-old boy and for possessing child pornography. He also then violated the terms of his probation by failing to update his information on the offender registry. Like other celebrities who evaded jail time, Jones received what some have criticized as a light punishment for his crimes, but his career hasn't recovered since allegations of abuse came to light, following his arrest.


  • Police Discovered Child Pornography In Jones's Home

    Police Discovered Child Pornography In Jones's Home
    Photo: Greg Gorman / via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    Jones's film career came to a halt in 2002 after the County of Los Angeles District Attorney charged him with a sex offense after Jones hired a then 14-year-old boy to pose nude for photos in Jones's Los Angeles home. The teen came forward when he was 17 years old to report Jones's misconduct. His home was searched on Friday, November 16, 2001, and Jones was found to be in possession of child pornography. The statute of limitations on the case would have expired that Sunday had the search not been conducted. 

    Shortly after his arrest, Jones was freed on $20,000 bail. His attorney, Jeffrey Brodey, downplayed the offense at the time of the arrest, stating to The Los Angeles Times that the charge was "all about photos" and that there were no "allegations of any touching or any improper acts with a minor."

  • Jones Entered A 'No Contest' Plea

    After entering a "no contest" plea, Jones was required to do five years of probation, counseling, and a spot on the sex offender registry. One of his attornies, Leonard Levine, like Brodey, downplayed the nature of the offense:

    [Jones was] not accused of touching or having physical contact with any minors whatsoever. He didn't do anything of that nature [...] It was just a case about photographs.

    Levine said that he hopes at some point the public will forgive Jones.

  • Jones Was Arrested In Florida After Failing To Report A New Address

    Not long after his no contest plea in 2003, Jones picked up his first probation violation when the Sheriff's Office in Sarasota, Florida, arrested him in 2004. The Beetlejuice actor failed to report within 48 hours that he had moved to a new address, a requirement of his probation and his registration as an offender.

    Jones registered when he first moved to a Sarasota apartment in 2003, but upon moving the following year did not change his address in the registry. He moved out of his apartment in March, and his new address was not discovered until July.

  • His Probation Expanded Over Time

    Jones's five-year probation sentence eventually almost doubled. In 2010, Jones violated the conditions of his probation by failing to update his information on the sex offender registry. He was arrested and released after posting $20,000 bail. Jones received another three-year probation sentence as well as 250 hours of community service working on a road cleanup crew.

    The then 63-year-old entered a guilty plea for the violation, stating that "such an event has never happened before and will never happen again."

  • Jones Was Discovered By The Probe That Also Looked Into Paul Reubens

    The probe by the Los Angeles Police Department that leveled charges against Jones is the same probe that targeted former Pee-Wee's Playhouse star, Paul Reubens. Police obtained a warrant to search Reubens's home and found vintage erotica. The child pornography charges against Reubens were dropped in exchange for pleading guilty to the lesser charge of obscenity. 

    Reubens had to register his address with police and could not be in the company of minors without the permission of a parent or guardian. Both Jones's and Reubens's homes were searched on the same day.

  • He Did Not Serve Jail Time For Violating Probation

    Although Jones faced two felony charges for failing to register as an offender after his 2004 Sarasota arrest, he was released from police custody soon after updating his new address. Under Megan's Law for Florida, sex offenders are required to register within 48 hours of establishing a new residence. 

    Jones was found to be living with his mother in a Sarasota home.