SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News)- The University of Utah responded after allegations surfaced against a police officer involved in the Lauren McCluskey case.
In October 2018, McCluskey was shot and killed on campus by a man she briefly dated.
She had repeatedly reached out for help to the campus police and since then her parents have sued the university saying not enough was done to prevent her death.
Over the weekend, an article published by the Salt Lake Tribune claims when McCluskey reported she was being extorted for $1,000 over photos, the officer (who now works for the Logan Police Dept.) allegedly saved them to his phone and showed one of the pictures to at least one male co-worker.
Monday morning the University of Utah responded to the claims saying they found no evidence of the accusations.
“The University of Utah Police Department completed an internal affairs investigation in February 2020 once it was alerted to these allegations and found no evidence that a former officer had “bragged” or shared any image from the investigation that wasn’t considered a legitimate law enforcement reason,” a statement from university spokesperson Chris Nelson read.
“No officers, currently or previously employed ever reported this at the time of occurrence. Because there was no finding, the incident was not reported to POST,” he explained.
Nelson said the department has changed its processes for collecting and storing evidence of this nature to ensure this isn’t an issue moving forward.
“Lauren McCluskey’s tragic murder in October 2018 was a pivotal moment for the University of Utah. The university is committed to improving and reducing the likelihood of such a tragedy happening again on campus. There is no end to this work, as the university will always need to be focused on and addressing safety.
Transformation of a campus culture is neither a simple nor a quick process, but it is one to which the university is fully committed. Many of the changes made at the university to date have involved policies, personnel, processes and physical improvements. The university continues to work to build an institutional culture that gives all members of the campus—and community stakeholders—confidence and trust in its ability to listen, support and respond appropriately.”– University of Utah spokesperson Chris Nelson
Lauren McCluskey’s parents have been very active in fighting for justice for Lauren. Her mother Jill retweeted the Salt Lake Tribune article Sunday with the following tweet, “Lauren was brave to report to police. University of Utah 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.”
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
Her parents are expected to address the public Monday afternoon in response to the allegations. MORE HERE: Lauren McCluskey’s parents respond to latest accusations against former U of U police officer.
The Logan Police Dept., where the accused officer now works, responded to the article Sunday saying that was the first time they had heard of the allegations.
The department has launched its own internal investigation.
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