A married 63-year-old newspaper editor has died after going into cardiac arrest following sex with a 23-year-old student in her apartment. Robert J. Caldwell, who was the editor of the editorial pages of The Oregonian, allegedly gave the woman money for school expenses for sex.
While Caldwell was visiting her apartment in Tigard, Oregon on Saturday, the woman noticed he was coughing and unresponsive and called 911.
Police officers and medical staff took him to hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
The paper, which is based in Portland, had previously reported that the editorial stalwart had been found in his parked car.
But in a correction, it said he became ill after a sex act with a woman who told police she met Caldwell a year ago at Portland Community College.
She claimed Caldwell knew she did not have much money so he gave her money for ‘books and other things for school in exchange for sex acts’.
The woman, who has not been identified, told police he had not given her money on Saturday, and officers will not pursue prostitution charges.
Caldwell’s family was notified of his death on Saturday evening.
He lived with his wife, Lora Cuykendall, a former journalist, and their youngest daughter, Ellie, a high school student, in Portland.
Their other two daughters both live and work in Portland.
Caldwell first worked as a reporter on Oregon papers before moving to The Oregonian as a copy editor in 1983.
He worked as a regional, metro and public editor for the paper before taking over the editorial section.
He had led the editorial board since 1995.
Under his direction, the newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for editorial writing.
Two writers won ‘for their persuasive, richly reported editorials on abuses inside a forgotten Oregon mental hospital,’ according to the Pulitzer board.
Staff were shaken by reports of Caldwell’s death, and paid tribute to a man who had spent decades at the editorial helm.
N. Christian Anderson III, president and publisher of The Oregonian, said: ‘Bob Caldwell was an outstanding journalist and editor who cared deeply about Oregon and Oregonians.
‘He was thoughtful and considerate of his colleagues and their views. And having worked with Bob nearly 40 years ago in our first jobs out of college, I was enjoying our reunion at The Oregonian.
‘He will be missed by so many people. We share this sadness with Lora, his family and his friends.’
But Caldwell also caused a fair bit of trouble.
In 2010, he was arrested on a DUI charge for driving his pickup into the back of another vehicle outside a Portland strip club.
Despite claiming he had only had two drinks two hours before the crash, he failed a blood-alcohol test.
He was sentenced to a year-long diversion program and his license was suspended for 90 days.
Although his arrest was widely covered by local media, The Oregonian never acknowledged it in its pages.