UI names review panel in wake of murder-suicide


By AP Wires

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) _ The University of Idaho has named a
three-member panel to investigate how the school responded to a
student's complaint against a professor who police said eventually
killed her, then himself, after their relationship ended earlier
this year.

The university has previously provided a timeline of what actions were taken after 22-year-old Katy Benoit complained in June about Ernesto Bustamante, who committed suicide in a Moscow hotel room after killing her outside her home on Aug. 22, police said.

The university's response to Benoit's complaint appears to be consistent with university policy, but president Duane Nellis named
independent review panel Friday to make sure those procedures meet
the highest safety and security standards.

In her June 12 complaint, Benoit told the university she feared for her life and her academic career following the end of a relationship with her former professor and academic adviser in the psychology department. Benoit's complaint said Bustamante carried guns with him everywhere and had threatened to kill her.

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News obtained a copy of Benoit's complaint from Sarah Sutter, a close friend who said she had helped
Benoit draft it.

``I wanted to come forward, but I was scared for my personal safety and my academic career,'' Benoit said in her complaint.

``Most of my activities at this University are somehow related
to him and I don't want to ruin my academic career, but I cannot
take classes of his any longer nor can I permit this twisted
behavior to continue for the sake of myself and other women who
will come after me,'' Benoit said in the document.

School officials said they had contact with Benoit more than a
dozen times to discuss the situation and urge her to take safety

Bustamante resigned from his position as an assistant professor
of psychology at the university on Aug. 19, three days before
police said he shot Benoit 11 times outside her Moscow home.
Bustamante then checked into a Moscow hotel and shot himself in the
head with a revolver, police said.

The university has not released a copy of Benoit's complaint and
is asking a state judge to determine if it can legally release
Bustamante's personnel records. The Idaho Press Club, state
newspapers and The Associated Press are also making legal arguments that the records should be released.

District Judge John Stegner has set an Oct. 3 hearing for oral
arguments in the case.

``The University is grateful to the court for putting this on a
fast track,'' said school attorney Charles Graham in a statement

Nellis, the school president, also on Friday named three people
to the review panel that will look into how the school responded to
Benoit's complaint.

The panel includes former Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Linda Copple Trout, University of Montana vice president of administration and finance Bob Duringer and Oregon State University vice provost for student affairs Larry Roper.

``I am committed to ensuring full disclosure and to promoting the safest possible university environment. That's why an independent review is essential. We must be certain that we are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our University community. We believe we are, but we want to make sure,'' Nellis said.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

KMVT Breaking News Alerts

Morning & Afternoon News Updates