NPR is investigating allegations by two women who said the head of its news department made unwanted physical contact with them while he was employed by another news organization nearly two decades ago.

The women, both journalists at the time of the alleged incidents, made the accusations in recent weeks against Michael Oreskes, senior vice president of news and editorial director at the Washington-based public broadcasting organization.

In response to the allegations, NPR said Tuesday that it has placed Oreskes on indefinite leave.

In separate complaints, the women said Oreskes — at the time, the Washington bureau chief of the New York Times — abruptly kissed them while they were speaking with him about working at the newspaper. Both of them told similar stories: After meeting Oreskes and discussing their job prospects, they said he unexpectedly kissed them on the lips and stuck his tongue in their mouths.

Both of the women spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity so as not to damage their employment prospects.

The alleged incidents occurred in the late 1990s, the women said. Oreskes joined NPR in March 2015 after working at the Times and the Associated Press in senior editing roles.

The women spoke with NPR’s attorney in charge of labor and employment matters in mid-October. She sent the women emails acknowledging that the news organization was looking into the information they provided.

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SOURCE: Paul Farhi 
The Washington Post