University Of Utah Cop Showed Coworkers Sexually Explicit Photos Of Student After She Reported Extortion
A police officer showed explicit photos of a 21-year-old student to his colleagues, after she reported someone trying to extort her using the same images.
Officer Miguel Deras is said to have told at least three of his colleagues that he could look at the pictures of Lauren McCluskey ‘whenever he wanted’.
Another officer is said to have replied: ‘She’s cute,’ while another told Deras he was ‘lucky’ to have been given the case.
Just days after McCluskey reported the extortion to police, she was shot dead by her ex-boyfriend on campus at the University of Utah in October 2018.
Melvin Rowland is said to have lied about his age and hidden the fact he was a registered sex offender, before using the images to threaten the 21-year-old.
Rowland was found dead in an apartment hours after McCluskey’s body was found. He’s believed to have died by suicide.
An official investigation was launched after a local newspaper revealed that Deras had showed the pictures to co-workers. Although there’s no evidence of Deras downloading the images to his phone, he’s said to have accessed them through his work emails on his phone.
‘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,’ Rodney Chatman, chief of police for the University of Utah’s Department of Public Safety, said in a report published on Wednesday, August 5.
‘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.’
Chatman didn’t go into any details about whether the officers would be disciplined, however he confirmed the department was ‘pursuing action against individual officers based on the findings in this report’.
Deras left the department in September last year, and is now working in the Logan City Police Department.
The report found that Deras continued to show his colleagues the explicit images of McCluskey, even after she was murdered.
At the time of McCluskey’s death, the university’s police department had been investigating the texts and emails she had received that threatened to release the explicit images, however they said there had been no indication that Rowland had been threatening physical harm.
Her death led to a review over how the department mishandled the case, as well as $65 million lawsuit filed by her parents.
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