Benoit family settles for $375K, U of I to overhaul campus policies



Posted on April 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 20 at 5:22 PM

BOISE-- The family of slain graduate student Katy Benoit has agreed not hold the University of Idaho liable in any legal way for personnel actions that may have contributed to Benoit's death last August.

The agreement comes in exchange with a $375,000 legal settlement negotiated by the family's lawyers with university.

Benoit was killed by a professor who she had previously dated.

Benoit had complained to the university last June about psychology professor Ernesto Bustamante, saying she ended their relationship after he pointed a gun at her head, threatening her life. Bustamante resigned Aug. 19, days before police say he killed Benoit at her off-campus home and then turned a gun on himself.

The tragedy has spurned new rules at the school to prevent future tragedies.
The changes include improved relations, communication and procedural operations between the university and the Moscow Police Department.

The school will develop improved communications for procedure that allows all students and faculty to safely, securely and, if necessary, anonymously report any harmful and inappropriate activity occurring within the university community.

The school is also looking to improve sexual harassment training for students, staff and faculty.

U of I will also be creating a new annual on-campus education event founded in safety, value-based decision-making and rights and responsibilities. The university will honor the legacy of Katy and her family by naming the forum for her.

Student’s say the tragedy was a wrong, bad thing that happened. Students KREM 2 spoke with say think they had to do something do make sure it doesn't happen again.

Katy Benoit's family plans to donate the money to charitable causes, primarily through a memorial fund established after the 22-year-old's death.

Benoit's family filed a $3 million tort claim against the university in December.

KREM 2 News tried to talk with University of Idaho officials about the changes they would not go on camera.