The parents of Lauren McCluskey, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 2018, alleged that a police officer had saved and shared their daughter’s explicit photos. The photos were used by ex-boyfriend Melvin Shawn Rowland to blackmail McCluskey when she had broken up with him after she found out that Rowland was a registered sex offender who lied about his name, age and criminal background. 

McCluskey was 21 and a student athlete at the University of Utah. Rowland was the bouncer at the bar where he had met McCluskey. Rowland would frequently go to McCluskey’s dorm and hang out with her friends. After the couple split, McCluskey told police that she was scared of Rowland and contacted them about the blackmail attempt. 

The McCluskey parents have filed a million dollar lawsuit against the University of Utah and alleged that Officer Miguel Deras had saved these photos of their daughter onto his personal cell phone and later bragged about having them and showed them to other officers. 

During a Zoom press conference at the McCluskey’s attorney’s office in Utah, mother Jill McCluskey stated, “The person who was supposed to provide police services to Lauren instead exploited her. It turns out that the only thing that officer Deras did was download the photos that Lauren provided as evidence to his personal phone to use for his own enjoyment. Lauren expected officer Miguel Deras to arrest this man when she provided evidence against him.”

Lauren’s father Matt McCluskey added that his daughter’s “trust was betrayed by officers who were sworn to protect her. This latest revelation… makes me wonder how much misconduct remains undiscovered.”

McCluskey was killed on October 22, 2018 when Rowland dragged McCluskey into the back of a car and shot her several times.