Jeffrey Jones avoided a possible three-year prison term on Tuesday, pleading no contest to charges stemming from his alleged hiring of a 14-year-old boy to pose for lewd snapshots. A Los Angeles judge sentenced the 56-year-old ''Ferris Bueller's Day Off'' star to five years probation and ordered him to undergo counseling and to be placed on a registry of sex offenders for the rest of his life.
Jones, best known as high school principal Ed Rooney in ''Bueller,'' was targeted in the same 2001 kid-porn probe that also led to charges against fellow Tim Burton regular Paul Reubens. (Reubens, better known as Pee-wee Herman, has pleaded innocent to a misdeameanor count of possessing child porn.) After a year-long investigation, prosecutors indicted Jones in late 2002 on a felony charge of using a minor for sex acts and a misdemeanor count of possessing child pornography. The possession charge was dropped Tuesday as part of the plea deal.
According to wire service reports, Jones spoke outside the courthouse after the sentencing, saying, ''This concludes a really painful chapter in my life. I am sorry that this incident was allowed to occur. Such an event has never happened before and it will never happen again.'' His lawyer, Leonard Levine, pointed out that Jones was never accused of unlawful sex or even touching the boy. He called the accusations against Jones ''just a case about photographs'' and said, ''He hopes at some point the public will forgive him and he can go on with his life and his career.''