Virginia Tech lawsuit: School officials defend actions

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According to a deposition read at trial, crisis manager Karen Doyne was asked whether Steger felt an apology was inappropriate and she replied, "That was my impression, at least publicly."

It was unclear from the deposition when the idea of an apology was rejected.

The consultants said they worked with Steger for a year, during which time Doyne said she had 10 or 15 conversations with him.

The crisis management consultants were hired in the weeks after the shooting as more than 500 reporters descended on the Blacksburg campus.

The Prydes and the Petersons were the only eligible families who didn't accept their share of an $11 million state settlement.

A state panel that investigated the shootings concluded that officials erred in not sending an alert earlier.

The lag in issuing a campus warning also brought Virginia Tech a $55,000 fine from the U.S. Education Department. The school is appealing.

The parents' attorneys concluded their presentation to jurors with the tearful testimony in which the girls' parents told of their grim journeys to Virginia Tech, not knowing if their daughters had survived the shootings.

Grafton Peterson said he immediately left work in Maryland when he heard of the shootings and was told his daughter was alive and in a hospital, only to be told she was dead.

"She was my best friend. She was my baby," he said of his daughter, who would now be 24.


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