Oregonian Revises Story: Bob Caldwell Died in Apartment of Woman Who Says He Sometimes Paid Her for Sex

Portland Mercury:

The Oregonian last night had to set the record straight on one small detail in the paper's initial story on the sudden death of its Pulitzer-winning editorial page editor, Bob Caldwell. Caldwell did not die in his car, as the paper initially reported. The Oregonian previously erroneously reported that Caldwell had been found in his parked car on Saturday, based on information from a family friend. Instead, he was in the Tigard apartment of a 23-year-old college student. The woman called 9-1-1 at 4:43 p.m. to report that Caldwell, 63, was coughing and then unresponsive after a sex act. Washington County sheriff's officers and medical personnel responded and transported him to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, where he later was pronounced dead. The woman told deputies she met Caldwell about a year ago at Portland Community College. Caldwell, she said, knew she didn't have much money, so he provided her cash for books and other things for school in exchange for sex acts at her apartment. Caldwell had not given her money Saturday, she told deputies. They decided against pursuing prostitution charges. This all comes after a day of heartfelt tributes about Caldwell as a newsman, and even on his relationship with his surviving wife. It also reminded us of his DUII arrest in 2010—a story his paper didn't report on. But the morning after the paper put out the revised story, it's already starting to get some national traction. Journalism blogger Jim Romenesko has a link up on his website and also posted the thing on Facebook, sparking a discussion of whether it was fair game to report this kind of "sordid" detail about a man's death.

At one point, the O threatened to cut off comments on its own story because of "snide remarks"—a courtesy the paper never applies to other public figures, like, say, Mayor Sam Adams. [ Subscribe to the comments on this story ]

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Comments

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    My daughter is 23 years old and the thought that a 63 year-old 1%'er would take advantage of her economic circumstances, in exchange for sexual favors, sends chills up my spine.

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    Friends, Do you think it's that unusual for a certain percentage of college students, male or female, to supplement their income this way in order to stay in school? And with administrators relentlessly pushing up tuition simply because many misguided parents are willing to keep paying it, or many students are willing to keep borrowing rather than transfer to less expensive schools when possible, I suspect this desperate practice is more widespread than ever. Let's hope that at least their clients are all "respectable" and don't beat them up, or worse.

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