Willamette Week’s Corey Pein did some digging and learned this about the woman who was with Oregonian editorial page editor Bob Caldwell just before he died:
* She’s a full-time call girl who has been advertising for three years on TNA Board, a NSFW website used by hookers and johns.
* She charges up to $200 an hour and insists that prospective clients give her on at least two references from other prostitutes. Her ad states: “I do not see newbies!”
* She was a cheerleader in high school.
* She didn’t know Caldwell worked at the Oregonian until after his death, according to her mother.
* The woman with Bob Caldwell on day he died works as an Internet call girl
* Earlier: Caldwell was with 23-year-old woman before he died of cardiac arrest
UPDATE: “There was a lot of debate about the way to handle this story,” Willamette Week’s Corey Pein says in a phone interview. At least one staffer didn’t think the paper should even pursue it.
But the feeling of most WW journalists was that they needed to tell the story that the Oregonian failed to tell about Caldwell and the young woman.
“Peter Bhatia’s editors note left a lot of unanswered questions, which is the whole reason we did our story. It didn’t address who this woman really is.”
Pein did some public records and Google searches to learn more about the her. “It didn’t take a lot of digging,” he says. The ads that the 23-year-old placed on the TNA Board showed “it was clear that she wasn’t nearly just a college student,” says the reporter, “but that she was a college student and a full-time call girl. … That was sort of the key piece that the Oregonian either failed to find or failed to share with readers.” (Pein says the woman has since scrubbed her web posts.)
“This was a pretty hardcore forum the woman was advertising on. It would be untruthful to say that this was merely a college student who needed money for textbooks.”
Why not name her?
“It didn’t seem to add much to the story. We gave a pretty full picture of her life and her work. It was a picture that the Orgeonian for some reason didn’t share” with readers.
Pein says colleague Hannah Hoffman was sent to the woman’s home but “didn’t have a lot of success interviewing her.” The conversation with the student-prostitute and her mother was “pretty curt,” and followed by an emailed statement. Did the young woman actually write it? “I would be surprised if she were not receiving some advice,” says Pein. (The statement says: “I feel extremely sad and helpless that I was unable to do more to save his life. His death will haunt me for the rest of my life.”)
Pein’s story also reported for the first time that fired Oregonian reporter Kathleen Glanville drove to the young woman’s apartment after Caldwell’s death and moved his vehicle from the scene. “She told that to multiple sources,” says Pein. “The reason for her firing is maybe a little more clear now.”