Ernesto Bustamante, an University of Idaho professor shot to death one of his students and killed himself.
Ernesto Bustamante, a University of Idaho professor shot to death Katy Benoit, one of his students he had previously dated, and then committed suicide.
The 22-year-old student, Katy Benoit was killed by psychology professor Ernesto Bustamante in August, after she and other students warned the university that he had talked in class about shooting students and was having “sex orgies” with students.
It was reported that the University officials urged Katy Benoit to take safety precautions and go to police, but that they could not tell officers details of the allegations because of confidentiality.
According to the documents released today, a student evaluating Ernesto Bustamante last fall complained his teaching was erratic and that he had discussed shooting students.
In December 2010, a complaint called into a university hotline accused Ernesto Bustamante of having sex with students and coercing one into having sex with him and others.
University of Idaho have defended their response to Katy Benoit’s complaint, saying they contacted Moscow police immediately after she came forward.
They told law enforcement that a student had been involved in a domestic violence issue but did not detail Katy Benoit’s allegations, including claims she was threatened with a gun.
Katy Benoit “did not want us to discuss the allegations in her complaint with police and we honored her wishes”, University of Idaho said in a statement.
According to Idaho University spokeswoman Tania Thompson, Ernesto Bustamante first had a chance to respond to the complaint, which he was served in early July after university officials received permission from Katy Benoit.
“He, at that point, has a right to respond to those allegations,” Tania Thompson said.
Ernesto Bustamante denied Katy Benoit’s allegations and told administrators that they had a friendship that had dissolved after she stole prescription pills from him.
Katy Benoit later told university officials she “screwed up” the relationship by stealing the pills, but she was really scared after he threatened her with a gun.
Ernesto Bustamante resigned his position effective August 19, and three days later, police said he shot Katy Benoit nearly a dozen times outside her Moscow home.
Ernesto Bustamante committed suicide in a hotel room shortly after shooting Katy Benoit and was found with six guns and medications for bipolar disorder and severe anxiety, according to police.
Ernesto Bustamante, who had been known to alternately refer to himself as a “psychopathic killer” and “the beast”, disclosed he took medication for bipolar disorder shortly after he was hired in 2007.
As early as he started the first semester at the university, three or four students went to psychology department chairman Ken Locke to express concerns about professor’s behavior, saying he was “flirtatious” and showed favoritism to students.
Katy Benoit had met Ernesto Bustamante in the fall of 2010 when she took a psychology course he was teaching, and by the end of the semester, they were dating.
During student evaluations of Ernesto Bustamante that fall, another student complained about the professor’s behavior.
“He talked about shooting students, which was disturbing, and implied that he was [and we should be] drunk and high every other day,” said the student, who is not identified in the teaching evaluations.
University of Idaho acknowledged that certain items in the documents, including this student’s comment, were troublesome in hindsight.
“In this case, the department chair did discuss with Bustamante his concerns regarding comments he had received from students about his classroom behavior,” the university said in a statement.
In December 2010, Ernesto Bustamante met with administrators to discuss a complaint that an anonymous caller put into a university hotline, saying professor was having sexual relationships with students.
The call reported that one of these relationships had become mentally abusive and the student had been coerced by Ernesto Bustamante into having sex with other people.
“They have also gotten into sexual orgies,” the caller said, according to a copy of the hotline complaint.
The student at the center of the abuse allegations was not Katy Benoit and denied that Ernesto Bustamante had exhibited improper behavior, refusing to file a complaint against him.
Ernesto Bustamante denied any violations of university policy during a December meeting with university administrator.
The student’s name was not mentioned during the meeting, but she later informed administrators that Ernesto Bustamante had called her immediately afterward and warned her that the dean of the college might make inquiries regarding a sexual harassment complaint.
Katy Benoit’s relationship with Ernesto Bustamante ended in May, after he put a gun to her head a third time and told her how he would use it to kill her.
Ernesto Bustamante had informed the chairman of his department April 30 that was experiencing withdrawal symptoms due to a change in his medication.
On October 3, a judge ordered Ernesto Bustamante’s personnel records to be released.