NEW HAVEN (CN) – The estate of Annie Le, the pharmacology student who was murdered by a lab technician at Yale, claims the university failed to protect her from the killer, though it knew or should have known of his “violent propensity towards women.”
Annie Le, 24, a doctoral student in pharmacology, was murdered 5 days before she was to be married. She was killed on the night of Sept. 8, 2009 and her body was not found for 5 days. Raymond Clark pleaded guilty to her murder and entered an Alford plea to attempted sexual assault. He is in prison.
“Sexual attacks on and harassment of women at Yale had been a well-documented and long standing problem, and there was a widespread belief that Yale repeatedly failed to impose meaningful discipline on offenders,” Le’s estate says in its complaint in Superior Court. “As a result, Yale created a culture of tolerance that allowed and encouraged aggressive male behavior towards women.”
The problem is so pervasive that students filed a Title IX complaint against Yale University, “which highlighted Yale’s failure to adequately prevent and respond to sexual harassment and sexual assaults on female students at Yale. A federal investigation of Yale’s conduct in this regard is ongoing,” the complaint states.
The estate says Yale knew or should have known that Clark was a danger to women.
“Clark had previously demonstrated aggressive behavior and a violent propensity towards women,” the complaint states. “In fact, Clark’s own sister and brother-in-law also worked for Yale as laboratory technicians in the Amistad Street Building on and before Sept. 8, 2009. Both were well aware Clark’s past behavior raised concerns that he was a threat to the safety and well being of others, including Ms. Le.”
A security card is required to enter the lab in the Amistad Building where Clark and Le both were working on Sept. 8, 2009. Records are kept of who enters each room and at what time. Le did not leave the building that afternoon after a fire alarm sounded. Officials did not follow up on her absence, despite having records of her presence in the lab, according to the complaint. Her roommate reported her missing late that night, but Yale did not search for her until the next morning, the complaint states. Clark strangled her.
On Sept. 13, her wedding day, her body was found inside a basement wall near her lab. “An autopsy performed on Ms. Lee’s body by the State of Connecticut Medical examiner revealed that Ms. Lee had been badly beaten, and that she had suffered a severely fractured mandible (jaw), fractured clavicle (collarbone) and severe bruising and bleeding,” the complaint states.
Clark was arrested on Sept. 17.
Le’s estate seeks damages for negligence, from Yale University and the Yale School of Medicine.
It is represented by Paul Slager with Silver, Golub & Teitell, of Stamford.