UCLA Prof. Faces Years in Prison for Lab Fire Death

LOS ANGELES — A UCLA chemistry professor, who has been charged with the death of a staff research assistant in 2008, will stand trial for the incident.

Patrick Harran, 43, is charged with willfully violating state occupational health and safety standards in the death of Sheharbano “Sheri” Sangji, the Los Angeles Times reports. According to prosecutors, Harran, who was in charge of training and supervising Sangji, failed to remedy unsafe work conditions in a timely manner, require appropriate work clothing and provide proper chemical safety training.

During the Dec. 29, 2008 incident, Sangji was not wearing a protective lab coat during an experiment, which led to the victim being severely burned over nearly half of her body. While prosecutors said that there is no evidence that anyone trained Sangji in the handling of the chemicals, Harran, as well as UCLA officials maintain that as an experienced chemist, Sangji was trained in the experiment and made the choice not to wear the lab coat.

Additionally, UCLA, which faced identical charges until they were dropped last July, has offered its support to Harran.

Harran will be arraigned on May 9. If convicted, he faces up to four and a half years in prison.

Read the full story.

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