CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Mediation talks between McCluskey’s and U fail, lawsuit moving forward

May 21, 2020, 9:59 AM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:25 am

A former chief and former officers from the University of Utah police sued, saying the school made them scapegoats after the murder of Lauren McCluskey, a student-athlete. (PHOTO: University of Utah)

(PHOTO: University of Utah)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Mediation talks between Lauren McCluskey’s parents and the University of Utah have ended without an agreement.

Mediation talks go nowhere

The attorneys for Matt and Jill McCluskey made the announcement Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, this week’s mediation with the University of Utah was not successful,” the McCluskey attorneys Jim McConkie and Brad Parker said in a statement. “We appreciate the opportunity to have had free and frank discussions with the university.”

Later that same day, the university released its own statement. They were hoping for an agreement that would be able to honor McCluskey’s memory while also benefiting the school’s students.

“We worked very hard to find common ground,” the statement reads. “Although we were unable to achieve a resolution, we found the discussions helpful. We appreciate the willingness of the McCluskey’s and their attorneys to engage in these efforts. We are hopeful our discussions will continue with the goal of reaching a mutually agreeable outcome.”

Those close to the talks say McCluskey’s parents, their attorneys, and representatives from the University of Utah met via video conferencing on both Tuesday and Wednesday. In the end, discussions lasted for around a total of 14 1/2 hours.

Lawsuit is a ‘go’

University of Utah officials say they’re hoping talks will continue, but the McCluskey’s plan appears to include going forward with their second lawsuit. It claims the death of their daughter was preventable because the university failed in its duty to protect her. 

21-year-old Lauren McCluskey was shot and killed Oct. 22, 2018, on-campus near her dorm. Before killing her, 37-year-old Melvin Shawn Rowland stalked and attempted to blackmail her.

Allegations have arisen this week that a former university officer downloaded compromising pictures of McCluskey on to his personal phone and bragged to other officers about having them.

Attorneys representing officer Miguel Deras have strongly denied those allegations. They’ve been quick to note their client’s innocence, mainly because he was already cleared of the allegations in two prior investigations.

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Mediation talks between McCluskey’s and U fail, lawsuit moving forward