Her family has secured a multimillion dollar settlement with the institution two years after a young woman from Washington State was killed at the University of Utah. Lauren McCluskey, a star in the university’s track and field program from Pullman, Washington, and the parents of University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins made the announcement of the settlement on Thursday.
Melvin Shawn Rowland, McCluskey’s ex-boyfriend, is accused of shooting her in October 2018 after reportedly extorting money from her and threatening to publish very private and sensitive images of her. Rowland is 37 years old.
Lauren was “sexually and physically abused, pursued and threatened by the ultimate killer,” according to the complaint submitted by McCluskey’s family, while campus police “dismissed and recused her request for aid.”
Lauren and her family have been let down by us. According to a prepared statement from the university, “We applaud Lauren and her legacy will increase campus safety for all students,” Watkins added.
Lauren McCluskey, a member of the University of Utah’s cross country and track teams, is seen running in Salt Lake City in this Aug. 30, 2017, photo provided by the university. Authorities claim that on October 23, 2018, University of Utah student McCluskey was shot and killed on campus by ex-friend Melvin Rowland, who was later discovered dead in a church. AP Photo/Steve C. Wilson, University of Utah
According to Jill McCluskey’s announcement on Thursday, the Lauren McCluskey Foundation will use all of the settlement money to increase campus safety.
The abuse and the friends’ concern that it would turn into more severe violence were discussed by Lauren McCluskey and her pals with university administrators and the police. According to the family’s complaint, university representatives and police officers shunned Lauren’s cries for assistance rather than intervening to shield her from the murderer.
Melvin Rowland is depicted in this undated image supplied by the Utah Department of Justice. University of Utah student-athlete Lauren McCluskey was found dead in an off-campus church in the early hours of Tuesday, October 23, 2018, according to authorities. Rowland is suspected of killing McCluskey. Associated Press/Utah Department of Corrections
Miguel de Las, a former member of the University of Utah campus police who was assigned to Lauren’s racketeering case, is also a defendant in the complaint. According to a recent news release from McCluskey’s defense team, he is accused of revealing “very sensitive, personal, and private photos for voyeuristic purposes” to at least one other officer who was not engaged in the investigation. Melvin Rowland, Lauren’s ex-boyfriend who would later commit murder, blackmailed her using the images. According to reports, Lauren Rowland paid $1,000 to prevent the release of the images.
A report issued in August by the Utah Department of Public Safety claims that Draas showed the pictures to at least three male coworkers outside of the workplace. The report stated that “Officer Dellas showed the images to a group of officers sometime after the October 2018 briefing.”
The clerk admitted she had made harsh remarks about McCluskey’s picture of Draas in the case, and recalled that Draas had commented on the images, saying he may look at them “at any moment.” Another claimed that additional cops were involved, stating that McCluskey was a “beautiful girl” and that Draas was “extremely satisfied” with the case.