Another woman has come forward to accuse Los Angeles Times Beijing Bureau Chief Jonathan Kaiman of sexual misconduct.
Kaiman was forced to resign as the President of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) in January this year after law student Laura Tucker exposed a 2013 incident in which Kaiman allegedly forced her into having sex with him.
The second victim is former Wall Street Journal editor and former Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez, who sent an email to the FCCC board accusing Kaiman of sexual misconduct.
In her email, Sonmez described in detail how Kaiman sexually assaulted her after she drove him home on her scooter following FCCC’s summer party in September.
“Even though parts of the evening were consensual, while on the way, Jon escalated things in a way that crossed the line,” she wrote.
According to Sonmez, they were on the way home when he lifted up her dress and began penetrating her with his fingers without her consent. Despite being told “no,” Kaiman allegedly persisted. While she eventually managed to pull away, he proceeded to unbuckle his belt and take off his shorts.
“We were on a public street, it was dark and no one was around. Jon is much bigger than me, and it took me repeatedly telling him no and pushing him away for him to finally stop,” Sonmez narrated.
Upon reaching his home, Kaiman attempted to assault her further and she again repeatedly expressed her refusal to consent.
While she had no intention of having sex with him, Sonmez said she then went up to his apartment. He ended up having unprotected sex with her.
“I was so drunk that I definitely should not have been driving, and many parts of the night remain hazy in my memory. I don’t remember what was going through my head as I went upstairs, whether I wanted to take a nap or get some water or maybe make out. I am certain I did not go up there to have unprotected sex with Jon,” she further wrote.
“When I later asked him his recollections of this part of the night, he said that things were hazy but he acknowledged that he had been ‘brutish’ with me. He briefly performed oral sex on me and then he had unprotected sex with me. 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,” Sonmez concluded.
Upon Sonmez’ request, the board sent the email to all members of the club on Tuesday evening. In a statement, the club noted that it “strongly opposes acts of sexual misconduct against any person.”
In an interview with the Hong Kong Free Press, Sonmez explained why she did not immediately go to the police:
“It was over the course of months, from September 2017 to January 2018, that I realized what happened to me was wrong. By the time it had fully sunk in, I was back in the U.S. for a long visit and had already decided to leave Beijing. So, it didn’t seem like going to the Beijing police was a viable option.”
In response to the new accusation, Kaiman released a statement to the L.A. Times saying, “all of the acts we engaged in were mutually consensual.”
“My perception and Ms. Sonmez’s perception of that night’s events differ greatly,” he was quoted as saying. “It’s unfortunate that, in hindsight, she feels the way she does about that night. I am a proponent of women’s rights and believe that every woman has a right to be heard and to tell her truth.”
The L.A. Times has suspended Kainan and launched its own investigation into the allegation on Tuesday.
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