An Oregon newspaper was forced to print an embarrassing correction after sordid details about the death of one of the paper's own Pulitzer Prize-winning editors began to emerge.
Bob Caldwell, 63, a longtime editorial page editor at The Oregonian, died on Saturday. A family friend initially told the newspaper that Caldwell was found dead in his car; later, The Oregonian reported Caldwell had actually gone into cardiac arrest while engaged in a "sex act" with a 23-year-old woman at her apartment. He reportedly had been paying her in exchange for such encounters.
Caldwell, who is married with three children, was "coughing and then unresponsive" during sex with the woman, the paper reported. The woman, who was not identified, allegedly told sheriff's deputies she met Caldwell about a year ago at Portland Community College. Caldwell gave her cash for books and other items for school in exchange for sexual favors at her apartment, she said, according to The Oregonian.
Caldwell was transported to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center Saturday, and was later pronounced dead, The Oregonian said. He had not given the woman money on Saturday, according to the paper.
No prostitution charges will be filed against the woman, deputies said.
“Technically we probably could have charged her with prostitution because there was an exchange of something, books and maybe tuition money for sex,” Sgt. Dave Thompson told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “But it’s a misdemeanor crime, and the circumstances of the guy dying in her apartment, we felt like it was probably not the most important arrest to make.”
Widow: 'We love him unconditionally'
On Tuesday, Caldwell's widow, Lora Cuykendall, posted a Facebook update about the circumstances concerning his death, and saying he "would have understood why The Oregonian needed to print the story." She added, "He also would have regretted the anguish that it caused to those he loves - both outside and inside of the newspaper. We love him unconditionally. Thanks to all of you for your loving support."
It's not known whether Caldwell's widow was aware of his affair.
The Oregonian's original obituary described Caldwell as having a "big smile and and a bigger laugh."
Caldwell's editorial career with the Oregonian began in 1995, but he worked for the paper for a total of 30 years. The newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 under him for a series of editorials about abuses at the Oregon State hospital, titled "Oregon's Forgotten Hospital," according to The Associated Press.
"He never lost his schoolboy enthusiasm for putting out the newspaper," said the obituary. "He never lost sight of the democratic ideals that drew him to journalism in the first place: Tell people the news, and the rest will follow."
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