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Sexual harassment and assault

LA Times Beijing chief Jonathan Kaiman, ex-president of Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China, quits after sex harassment investigation

Jonathan Kaiman was accused of sexual harassment by a former Wall Street Journal editor and his roommate

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2018, 7:43am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2018, 9:35pm

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. She added she could provide no further information, citing a personnel matter.

Kaiman did not immediately respond to an email. He previously said his relations with Felicia Sonmez, who worked in China for both The Wall Street Journal and Agence France-Presse, were consensual.

LA Times suspends Beijing bureau chief while it investigates sexual misconduct allegation

Sonmez 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 apologised.

Sonmez, who now lives in Washington, said Tuesday 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 combating sexual misconduct,” she said. “But the response of institutions is another essential part.”

According to the Times' website, Kaiman was previously a correspondent for the Guardian, a freelance writer and a Fulbright scholar researching folklore in China’s rural southwest.