A University of Utah police officer is
under fire after reportedly showing colleagues explicit sexual photos of a 21-year-old student who later ended up dead.
reports allege that Officer Miguel Deras inappropriately showed his fellow officers explicit images and that Deras’ fellow officers “inappropriately commented on the photos.”
What are the details of the girl’s death?
Lauren McCluskey was
killed in Oct. 2018 when her ex-boyfriend shot her inside a parked vehicle at the university.
Just three days before her murder, McCluskey filed a police report alleging that her ex-boyfriend — 37-year-old registered sex offender Melvin Rowland — was blackmailing her with explicit photos. McCluskey also insisted that Rowland was sending her threatening texts and email messages, warning that he would damage her “financially and reputationally.”
reported that Rowland lied about his age to McCluskey, who had allegedly paid him a sum of $1,000 to stop him from spreading the photos online. McCluskey was also allegedly unaware of Rowland’s sex offender status.
Rowland reportedly showed up at the school and shot McCluskey multiple times while she was on the phone with her mother.
The suspect was found dead from an apparent suicide just hours after police discovered McCluskey’s body.
How did the officer come into play?
Deras, who was assigned the case prior to McCluskey’s murder, flaunted the evidence in front of at least three of his colleagues, reports say, boasting that he could “look at them whenever he wanted.”
At the time, one of Deras’ fellow officers reportedly commented, “She’s cute,” while another allegedly said that Deras’ was “lucky” to have been assigned the case.
Following her death, Deras’ reportedly continued to show off the graphic photos of McCluskey’s body, allegedly showing at least one officer at the crime scene what she looked like through the photos, which Deras’ allegedly accessed through his cell phone.
The girl’s parents filed a $65 million lawsuit against the school and police force, insisting it mishandled the case.
Deras reportedly quit the department in September 2019 and now works for the Logan City Police Department, reports say.
You can read more on the case’s background here.
Rodney Chatman, chief of police for the University of Utah’s Department of Public Safety, issued remarks on the findings on Wednesday.
“I am deeply disturbed by this finding and disappointed in the officers who were present and who did not report this incident through appropriate university channels,” Chatman said. “It is inexcusable for any law enforcement officer to discuss photos or information provided by a victim outside of clear and legitimate law enforcement reasons.”
A statement from Deras’ legal team roundly
denies the allegations against its client.