Possible Misconduct By Investigating Officer In Lauren McCluskey Case
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — New disturbing details in the Lauren McCluskey case point to alleged misconduct by an investigating officer at the University of Utah.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Miguel Deras — the officer assigned to McCluskey’s case — saved explicit photos of the 21-year-old on his personal phone.
He also allegedly showed at least one of the photos to a co-worker just days before McCluskey was murdered, bragging that he got to look at them whenever he wanted.
McCluskey was shot and killed in Oct. 2018 near her campus dorm by 37-year-old Melvin Rowland.
LIVE: Jill and Matt McCluskey and their attorneys are addressing the media regarding newly-discovered evidence and recent developments in Lauren McCluskey's case.
Posted by KSL 5 TV on Monday, May 18, 2020
She told police that Rowland was blackmailing her by demanding money in exchange for not distributing intimate photos.
Officials said McCluskey sent copies of the messages and the pictures to the campus police department as evidence.
Deras saved the photos to his own phone, according to the Tribune.
Jill McCluskey, Lauren’s mom, tweeted about the new allegations Sunday.
“Lauren was brave to report to police… but instead of arresting the man who was stalking and extorting her, Officer Deras exploited her by downloading extortion pictures to his phone and showing them to another officer unrelated to the case,” the tweet read.
Lauren was brave to report to police. @UUtah confirmed that instead of arresting the man who was stalking & extorting her, Officer Deras exploited her by downloading extortion pictures to his phone & showing them to another officer unrelated to the case. https://t.co/wyw4Q9KjxX
— Jill McCluskey (@jjmccluskey) May 17, 2020
Jenn Oxborrow is the executive director of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition. She said she was stunned by the news.
“My very first thought was that I’m very worried about a chilling effect on people reporting when something has happened,” she said. “If they don’t feel safe coming to law enforcement, that could really cause people to retreat from coming forward for help, and that worries me quite a bit.”
Oxborrow said there’s always help available for victims at the UDVC.
Deras resigned from the campus police department last September. He now works as an officer for the Logan Police Department.
Logan Police said they were very concerned about the allegations and started their own internal investigation.
The University of Utah released a statement saying the police department completed an internal affairs investigation in February once it was alerted to the allegations. No evidence was found that a former officer had “bragged,” or shared any image from the investigation.
The McCluskey family and their attorneys will be addressing the media regarding these allegations at 1 p.m. Monday.
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