Philip Roth’s Biographer Blake Bailey Is Accused of Sexual Assault

“I can assure you I have never had non-consensual sex of any kind, with anybody, ever, and if it comes to a point I shall vigorously defend my reputation and livelihood,” he wrote in the email, which the Times reviewed. “Meanwhile, I appeal to your decency: I have a wife and young daughter who adore and depend on me, and such a rumor, even untrue, would destroy them.”

Norton took the allegation seriously, a spokeswoman for the publisher said Wednesday. “We did take steps, including asking Mr. Bailey about the allegations, which he categorically denied, and we were mindful of the sender’s request for a guarantee of anonymity.”

Former students recall him as a charismatic role model who treated them as intellectual peers. But he also created an atmosphere of intimacy that could cross the line, like encouraging students to write about romantic relationships in journals that they submitted to him for comments. “There was an environment of dirty jokes and permissiveness,” said Elizabeth Gross, a former student who now teaches at Tulane University. Some students said his remarks and behavior were attempts to “groom” them for sexual encounters years later.

Eve Peyton, 40, a former student who now works in publicity at a high school in New Orleans, said that Mr. Bailey raped her when she was a graduate student. When she was his student, he treated her as “one of his special girls,” she said, attention that felt flattering and reaffirming at the time.

In June 2003, she was a graduate student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and engaged to be married. She and Mr. Bailey both happened to be visiting New Orleans at the same time and met for drinks. Afterward, he invited her back to the place he was staying, where he kissed her, initiated oral sex, and when she squirmed away, he pinned her to the bed and forcibly had sex with her, she said. He finally stopped when she told him she wasn’t using birth control, she recalled.

After he drove her to her father’s house, where she was staying, Mr. Bailey said he had “wanted her” since the day they met, when she was 12, Ms. Peyton said.

She told two friends about the assault shortly after it happened but didn’t go to the police, in part because she was overwhelmed and wanted to move on with her life, she said. She later began seeing a therapist with experience in sexual assault counseling.

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Shawn G. Kennedy, Times Reporter in a Vanguard, Dies at 73

Back in the 1970s, as The New York Times lagged behind other papers in hiring reporters and editors of color, Paul Delaney, the first Black reporter hired in the newspaper’s Washington bureau, was among those helping to recruit nonwhite journalists.

He was on assignment in New Orleans in 1973 when he ran into a Black television reporter, who told him that her twin sister, who worked as a fact checker for Playboy magazine in Chicago, was eager to move to a daily paper. The next time Mr. Delaney was in Chicago, he looked her up.

And that was how Shawn G. Kennedy came to work at The Times, taking a route as random as any in that era, before organizations like the National Association of Black Journalists were formed to help organize the recruitment of journalists.

Ms. Kennedy, who worked at The Times for 23 years, died on April 5 at the home of her sister, Royal Kennedy Rodgers, in San Francisco. She was 73 and lived in New Orleans. Ms. Rodgers said the cause was breast cancer.

Lt. Col. James Vincent Kennedy, was one of the Tuskegee Airmen, the all-Black corps of elite pilots; he completed his training too late to see combat in World War II but became a career Air Force officer and flew missions in Korea and Vietnam. He received degrees in electrical engineering and worked on the Apollo space program.

Shirley (Graves) Kennedy, went back to school after her children had grown and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in African-American studies and her doctorate in political science. She then taught Black studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

With Mr. Kennedy in the military, the family lived on air bases around the world. The parents were intensely interested in current events and liked to read, and their children adopted the same habits. Royal Rodgers said that while living in Tokyo and having no television there, she and Shawn “devoured” American magazines. Shawn went to Ohio University in Athens but left for Playboy before graduating.

She married Harold Brown, an investment manager, in 1997 and left The Times shortly thereafter. They moved to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., before settling in New Orleans.

“New Orleans was her big second act,” her sister said. Ms. Kennedy and Mr. Brown were already involved in economic development there before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, and afterward they devoted themselves even more to rebuilding the city. After Mr. Brown died in 2013, Ms. Kennedy continued many of his projects.

One project of which Ms. Kennedy was especially proud was overseeing the conversion of the historic St. Rosa de Lima church into a center for a Waldorf school, a performance space and a business incubator.

In addition to her sister, she is survived by two brothers, Kevin and Colin; a stepson, David Brown; and one step-grandson.

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