Lauren McCluskey’s Parents Say Failures At University of Utah Had ‘Fatal Consequences’

Dec 20, 2018, 11:33 PM | Updated: Dec 21, 2018, 1:38 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – An outside investigation into the University of Utah’s handling of the Lauren McCluskey case found that her murder may not have been preventable. Thursday, though, McCluskey’s parents said they don’t believe that’s true.

Jill and Matthew McCluskey, Lauren’s parents, sent a three-page letter to the University and local media Thursday. They believe if their daughter’s case had been given a higher priority, she might have been saved.

Lauren McCluskey died Monday. Photo credit: Steve C. Wilson, University of Utah

Lauren McCluskey. Photo credit: Steve C. Wilson, University of Utah

“Failures by staff to provide support and security to Lauren, principally by the UUPD as well as by other entities at the University, had fatal consequences,” the McCluskeys wrote.

They said Jill McCluskey specifically told police in a phone call expressing concern about Melvin Rowland:

“a. “I am worried he’s dangerous”
b. “He is a sex offender”
c. “He is a bad person”
d. “I am worried someone is going to hurt her”

They said that phone call was not linked to a later report from Lauren that Rowland was harassing and extorting her.

University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey and her killer, Melvin Rowland

“If the information had been linked, it is reasonable to assume that her case would have been given a higher priority and her murder might have been prevented,” they wrote.

The McCluskeys also pointed to what happened the day of the murder, when Lauren reported to police that someone was pretending to be an officer and trying to lure her out of her room. She called an officer to report what was happening. That officer told her not to answer the text, but did not report what happened to police administration.

“Lauren’s reporting went nowhere,” the McCluskeys wrote. “This is an unforgivable lapse of judgment and professional competency. This contradicts the finding (18) that the police were taking Lauren’s complaints seriously.”

The letter ended with, “If the University of Utah is serious about following the report’s recommendations, it is essential that the individuals who failed our daughter be held accountable for neglecting her numerous, persistent attempts to seek help, and be disciplined appropriately.”

A University spokesperson said Thursday afternoon that they have read the McCluskeys’ letter and forwarded it on to the review team. He said the university is committed to implementing the recommendations made in that report.

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Lauren McCluskey’s Parents Say Failures At University of Utah Had ‘Fatal Consequences’