Eye On Boise

TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2012, 11:11 A.M.

AP: UI has reached settlement with family of slain grad student

The Associated Press reports that the University of Idaho has reached a settlement with the family of Katy Benoit, the 22-year-old graduate student who was shot to death last August by a former professor who then killed himself, and that the state Board of Education will consider the settlement this week. Click below for the full report from AP reporter Jessie Bonner.

APNewsBreak: UI, slain student's family reach deal
By JESSIE L. BONNER, Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The University of Idaho has reached a settlement with the family of slain graduate student Katy Benoit, a 22-year-old who was gunned down last August by a former professor she had dated.

The state Board of Education was expected to consider the agreement at a meeting later this week in northern Idaho, according to two sources with knowledge of the settlement. The two people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the settlement with Benoit's family is not yet being made public.

Benoit died Aug. 22 after being shot 11 times by former psychology professor Ernesto Bustamante, who then checked into a Moscow hotel before turning a gun on himself. Bustamante had resigned from his position at the university days earlier.

Police found six guns and medications for bipolar disorder and severe anxiety in Bustamante's hotel room.

Benoit's family filed a $3 million tort claim in December, saying the university "negligently and recklessly" hired Bustamante and knew that he engaged in abusive sexual relationships with female students.

Benoit complained to the university last June that Bustamante had pointed a loaded gun at her head on three separate occasions and detailed the manner in which he would use it. The university urged Benoit to take safety precautions and go to police.

The family didn't return a phone call Tuesday from The Associated Press.

A university spokeswoman and the state board's executive director declined to acknowledge that a settlement had been reached.

"The university's policy on matters related to tort claims or pending litigation against the university is to refrain from specific comment and to release information only as required under the state's public records laws," the university said in an email Tuesday.

According to an agenda for the state Board of Education's meeting in Moscow, trustees are scheduled to discuss pending litigation related to the University of Idaho on Wednesday during its executive session, which is closed to the public. The board is then scheduled to consider approval of "the settlement agreement discussed in executive session" on Thursday, according to an agenda posted online earlier this week.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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