University of Utah Police Officer Allegedly Bragged About Having Explicit Photos of a Murdered Student on His Phone

Illustration for article titled University of Utah Police Officer Allegedly Bragged About Having Explicit Photos of a Murdered Student on His Phone
Image: AP

Before she was murdered, Lauren McCluskey, a 21-year-old track athlete at the University of Utah, filed more than 20 reports with the University’s police department, cataloging extortion messages that included explicit pictures that she had taken of herself, which she said were being used to blackmail her. By the time she sent the messages to the campus police, McCluskey told officers she had already paid Melvin Rowland, a 37 year-old registered sex offender and a man she identified as her blackmailer, $1,000 to avoid their release.

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Nine days after she filed the report, McCluskey was shot and killed, seemingly by Rowland, who also killed himself. But not before Miguel Deras, one of the officers at the University of Utah police department, allegedly saved the explicit pictures of McCluskey to his phone, and bragged to fellow officers about being able to pull up the pictures and look at them whenever he liked.

McCluskey was murdered over a year ago, and the events are only now being publicized because of a continued investigation into McCluskey’s case. Her parents have sued the University of Utah for $56 million, as they (rightfully) believe that the institution failed to protect their daughter. An officer that Deras showed the pictures to, supposedly while bragging about have access to them, confirmed the account, while another officer has said he overheard the interaction; neither ever reported the incident. Deras, who left the department under a year ago, was never disciplined. He currently works for Logan police, not too far away from campus.

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“The people who were supposed to be helping and protecting Lauren were actually exploiting her,” Jill McCluskey, Lauren’s mother, told The Salt Lake Tribune, “I wish that Deras had used his time to arrest the man who was committing crimes against Lauren.”

Personally, I hope that Deras, along with the other two officers who were aware of photos on his phone and therefore purportedly of his inaction regarding her complaints, absolutely rot in hell, it would be more than any of them deserve.

freelance writer living in San Francisco. Please clap.

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DISCUSSION

forever47
Hammockandhappiness

This is thoroughly appalling but entirely unsurprising; the justice system is as broken and corrupt as everything else in the U.S.