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Next employer didn’t talk to UI about Bustamante

The New Jersey company that offered Ernesto Bustamante a job as he was being investigated by the University of Idaho for sexual harassment never called the university for references, a company spokeswoman said on Friday.

“The references he provided were not from the University of Idaho,” said April Perrone, human resources manager at Hi-Tec Systems, an aviation industry engineering and research company based in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.

The assistant professor of psychology agreed to resign his position with the university effective Aug. 19, three days before gunning down graduate student Katy Benoit, with whom he had an intimate relationship. Soon after killing her, he committed suicide in a nearby hotel room.

Benoit complained to the university that Bustamante had threatened her at gunpoint three times since January after their relationship ended. The university agreed to dismiss its investigation into the complaint in exchange for Bustamante’s resignation.

Moscow police said Bustamante already had secured employment with a New Jersey company. Details about the prospective employer emerged in documents released by the university on Wednesday.

In an interview on Friday, Perrone said Hi-Tec Systems had offered Bustamante a job in “human factors research” contingent on his passing a background investigation.

“He had all the requirements for the position,” Perrone said.

However, Bustamante never submitted the necessary information to begin the background check.

“We were still waiting for it,” Perrone said, adding that company officials heard about Bustamante’s death on the news. “The university never approached us. We did not have communication with the University of Idaho.”

Documents released by the university contained correspondence between Bustamante and Perrone, including a July 11 email in which he inquired about obtaining a New Jersey firearms license.

“There is one thing that concerns me though,” Bustamante wrote Perrone. “I own several firearms, and unlike Pennsylvania, New Jersey does not honor my conceal weapons license, so I have to figure out how to obtain a New Jersey License.”

Perrone responded by sending Bustamante an Internet link to a state of New Jersey page offering information on firearms law.