AP NEWS

LA Times Beijing bureau chief quits after sex investigation

September 19, 2018

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The head of the Los Angeles Times’ Beijing bureau has resigned four months after the newspaper suspended him following sexual harassment complaints brought by two women.

Jonathan Kaiman has left the newspaper, Los Angeles Times spokeswoman Hillary Manning confirmed Tuesday.

Kaiman was suspended last May after the Times launched an investigation into the allegations made by a former Wall Street Journal editor and a former roommate of his.

“I can confirm that the Los Angeles Times completed its investigation into the matter and that Jonathan Kaiman resigned,” Manning said in an email to The Associated Press. She added she could provide no further information, citing a personnel matter.

Kaiman, who has maintained that his relations with Felicia Sonmez were consensual, vigorously denied the allegations in an email Tuesday, adding they had driven him “to the brink of suicide.”

“I am saddened and, quite frankly, horrified that a group of professional journalists would unquestioningly take her version of events as absolute truth before hearing (or, in most cases, even asking for) my side of the story,” he told The Associated Press.

Sonmez, who worked in China for The Wall Street Journal and Agence France-Presse, said she was giving an intoxicated Kaiman a ride home on her scooter from a Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China party when he lifted up her dress and sexually touched her despite her repeated demands that he stop.

Later, she said, they had sex at his home.

“I am devastated by the fact that I was not more sober so that I could say with absolute certainty whether what happened that night was rape,” she said when she brought the allegations last May.

Laura Tucker, a former roommate of Kaiman’s, had said in an online post in January that he pressured her to have sex with him in 2013.

Kaiman, who was president of the correspondents club at the time, resigned and apologized.

“I am genuinely sorry that I’ve caused Laura and Felicia pain — I had considered them very close friends and would never intend to hurt them,” Kaiman said Tuesday, adding neither accused him of violence or coercion.

“Yet they have irrevocably destroyed my reputation, my professional network, my nine-year career in journalism, and any hope for a rewarding career in the future,” he said.

Sonmez, who now lives in Washington, D.C., said she was grateful the Times had taken her allegations seriously but disappointed the newspaper did not reveal the results of its investigation. She also praised Tucker for coming forward first.

“The voices of women are a crucial part of the equation when it comes to combatting sexual misconduct,” she said. “But the response of institutions is another essential part.”

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