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Yale Settles Lawsuit Over Slain Grad Student

HARTFORD, Conn. — Yale University has agreed to pay $3 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a graduate student killed in a research lab days before her wedding.

The settlement amount was listed in probate court documents obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. In a court document filed last week, lawyers for Yale and the family of Annie Le disclosed that the case was settled through mediation but did not mention the amount.

Le’s body was found stuffed in a wall at a Yale lab building on Sept. 13, 2009, the day of her scheduled wedding and five days after she disappeared. She had been strangled, and prosecutors said there was evidence of a sexual assault. The native of Placerville, California, was 24.

An animal research technician who worked in the same lab building, Raymond Clark III, pleaded guilty to murdering Le and is serving a 44-year prison sentence. He apologized at his sentencing but did not offer an explanation.

Le’s family filed the lawsuit in 2011, alleging Yale had failed to adequately protect women on campus for years. Yale officials denied the allegations and said no additional security at the lab building, which required key card access, would have stopped the killing.

A lawyer for Yale, Patrick Noonan, and school spokesman Thomas Conroy declined to comment on the settlement Tuesday. An attorney for the Le family did not return messages seeking comment.

The lawsuit alleged Yale officials should have known that Clark posed a potential danger to Le’s safety, because he had previously demonstrated aggressive behavior and a “violent propensity towards women.”

Yale also denied that allegation, saying in a statement after the lawsuit was filed that it had no information indicating that Clark was capable of “committing this terrible crime.”

Le’s relatives have said that what should have been a joyous wedding suddenly turned into mourning the loss of a woman whose research included finding new treatments for chronic diseases. She was a doctoral pharmacology student who worked on a team that experimented on mice as part of research into enzymes that could have implications for the treatment of cancer, diabetes and muscular dystrophy.

Lab workers told police that Clark was controlling and viewed the lab and its mice as his territory.

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