| 03.18.2018

University officials confirm complaints, contact with MPD from Benoit


University of Idaho officials and theMoscow Police Department were aware of Katy Benoit’s problems with former assistant professor of psychology Ernesto A. Bustamante. Benoit first made contact with UI officials June 10 and filed an official complaint against Bustamante June 12, according to a statement released by the university today.
UI directly informed MPD regarding Benoit’s complaint following the June 10 meeting. UI met with Benoit several times during the summer, most recently Monday, the day Benoit was killed, to inform her that Bustamante’s last day of employment was Aug. 19.
Bustamante also filed a complaint against Benoit with MPD regarding false accusations and defamation of character July 8, according to a press release issued today by MPD. The press release also indicated that Bustamante was found in his hotel room with six guns and several prescription medications with his name on them.
UI President Duane Nellis has also asked university counsel to seek a court ruling to allow for the release of Bustamante’s personnel records, according to the release. Bustamante is the lone suspect in Monday’s shooting and is reported to have committed suicide when located by police early Tuesday morning in a Moscow hotel.
The statement followed a Wednesday plea by Benoit’s family that the university be more forthcoming with information about its role prior to the shooting. The university statement indicated that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) does not extend beyond death — making Benoit’s records open — but that Bustamante’s right to privacy in his personnel records does, indeed, extend beyond his life.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of Katy Benoit,” Nellis said. “We understand their desire to have a full accounting of the circumstances that led to Katy’s death. I intend to do everything I can to answer their questions. A tragedy has occurred and we all want answers.”
The university statement said UI informed Benoit that her complaint had been sent to Bustamante July 6. Along with the complaint, a letter was sent to Bustamante informing him of potential university policy violations. Benoit was told that Bustamante had been instructed not to contact her, and that she was to immediately inform the university if she heard from Bustamante, according to the statement.
The university threat assessment team met July 14 and determined that Benoit’s situation was “high-risk” and recommended that she stay somewhere other than her current residence. The university told Benoit that they would interview Bustamante July 19, according to the statement.
Benoit had been contacted once more by the university July 22 before their final meeting Aug. 22, according to the statement. The university again encouraged Benoit to maintain safety precautions including contacting MPD, and also enquired about where she would be before school started.
In their final meeting, Benoit was told by the university to “remain vigilant” and to seek help from police, support services on campus and others if she felt any safety concerns, and to remain in contact with university representatives, according to the statement.
Nellis has also requested an independent review of the institutional policies and procedures to “ensure that the University of Idaho maintains the highest safety and security standards,” according to the release.

Related Posts
No comments

There are currently no comments to show.