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Officer fired for sharing explicit photos of slain University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 8/8/2020 Jessica Schladebeck

A police officer accused of sharing explicit photos of a slain University of Utah student while investigating an extortion complaint she filed prior to her death has been fired.

Miguel Deras’ employment with the Logan City police department was terminated “effective immediately” following an internal review of a recently completed Department of Public Safety investigation, according to a press release. According to the probe, Deras “mishandled sensitive evidence” while investigating a complaint filed by Lauren McKluskey as an officer with the University of Utah police department.

“The conclusions drawn in the DPS report are inconsistent with the high expectations and standards placed upon our officers by the community and our department,” Chief Gary Jensen said in a statement.

a woman holding a football ball: Lauren McCluskey, a member of the University of Utah cross country was shot and killed on campus by a former boyfriend Melvin Rowland, who was found dead hours later inside a church Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, © Steve C. Wilson Lauren McCluskey, a member of the University of Utah cross country was shot and killed on campus by a former boyfriend Melvin Rowland, who was found dead hours later inside a church Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018,

Lauren McCluskey, a member of the University of Utah cross country was shot and killed on campus by a former boyfriend Melvin Rowland, who was found dead hours later inside a church Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, (Steve C. Wilson/)

McCluskey was shot and killed on campus on Oct. 22, 2018 by Melvin Shawn Rowland, 37, a registered sex offender and Utah State Prison parolee, after weeks of being stalked.

Rowland, who McCluskey briefly dated, also repeatedly blackmailed her, threatening to release explicit photos if she did not comply with his requests. The 21-year-old student athlete reported the harassment and provided the images to Deras as proof of the extortion.

According to the DPS investigation, the ex-officer showed the images of McCluskey to his fellow officers, including to a sergeant at the scene of her murder, on multiple occasions. He is also accused of cracking jokes and making inappropriate comments about the pictures.

a person posing for the camera: This undated photo provided by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office shows Melvin Rowland, who shot and killed former girlfriend Lauren McCluskey in 2018. An investigation found Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, that a group of University of Utah police officers made inappropriate comments about explicit photos of McCluskey, who had submitted the pictures as evidence in an extortion case shortly before her shooting death. The findings came after the Salt Lake Tribune unearthed allegations that an officer had bragged about having the images of the track athlete before her 2018 slaying. © Provided by New York Daily News This undated photo provided by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office shows Melvin Rowland, who shot and killed former girlfriend Lauren McCluskey in 2018. An investigation found Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, that a group of University of Utah police officers made inappropriate comments about explicit photos of McCluskey, who had submitted the pictures as evidence in an extortion case shortly before her shooting death. The findings came after the Salt Lake Tribune unearthed allegations that an officer had bragged about having the images of the track athlete before her 2018 slaying.

This undated photo provided by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office shows Melvin Rowland, who shot and killed former girlfriend Lauren McCluskey in 2018. An investigation found Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, that a group of University of Utah police officers made inappropriate comments about explicit photos of McCluskey, who had submitted the pictures as evidence in an extortion case shortly before her shooting death. The findings came after the Salt Lake Tribune unearthed allegations that an officer had bragged about having the images of the track athlete before her 2018 slaying.

One staffer had recounted that Deras commented specifically about getting to “look at them whenever he wants,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Deras has previously denied bragging about the photos, claiming he only showed them during a routine briefing to find out how they should be handled and stored, his attorney, Jeremy Jones, told KUTV. He left the University shortly after McCluskey’s murder and later joined the Logan police force, where he remained on probation pending the investigation’s outcome.

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