Bill inspired by Lauren McCluskey aims to stop revictimization by police

Aug 7, 2020, 3:33 PM
McCluskey's settlement...
FILE: Lauren McCluskey, a student-athlete at the University of Utah, was murdered in October 2018. Photo: University of Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Addressing the Lauren McCluskey murder and extortion case, a Utah lawmaker wants to criminalize the revictimization of a crime victim by police officers sharing intimate photos with any person outside the scope of an investigation. 

Democratic Rep. Andrew Stoddard of Murray opened a bill that would prevent a law enforcement officer from downloading private images to a personal device.

We look at sexual assault crimes especially and wonder why they’re so underreported. It’s because of actions like this. — Rep. Stoddard

University of Utah track athlete Lauren McCluskey, 21, was killed Oct. 22,, 2018, by a sex offender parolee whom she had briefly dated. Melvin Rowland, 37, killed himself a few hours later as police closed in. A convicted felon prohibited from possessing a firearm, Rowland used a borrowed gun in the slaying.

The review from the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) found U. Officer Miguel Deras, who later left the campus police department, showed the photos to several other officers.

Chilling effect

andrew stoddard revictimization law

File: Rep. Andrew Stoddard, who previously championied Lauren’s Law, which would make anyone who lends a gun used in a crime civilly liable, regardless of intent, is behind some new legislation inspired by the murdered student-athlete. (Photo: Utah Democratic Party)

“You tweeted, representative, that the officer who was the focus of the review doesn’t deserve to be a cop. Do you still feel that way?” Debbie asked.

“I absolutely stand by that,” Stoddard said.

“Why is that?” Dave asked.

“This actions were clearly inappropriate. I understand their allegations at this point. From DPS’s report I think it’s clear multiple people saw these pictures. We look at sexual assault crimes especially and wonder why they’re so underreported. It’s because of actions like this,” Stoddard said. “People don’t trust law enforcement in a lot of these situations because a few bad officers mishandle information, don’t take it seriously, don’t do the work. So I think this has a chilling effect on victims coming forward.”

Case background

U. of U. Police Chief Rodney Chatman said investigators found no evidence to show the officer in question downloaded the photos inappropriately or shared them (digitally) with others. But it did find he showed the photos to some officers, who “inappropriately commented on the photos before, during or immediately after a shift change briefing,” which he called “inexcusable.”

“Officers [names redacted] remember hearing some unprofessional comments being made when the pictures were displayed,” the report stated.

No credibility

“Why fired over just being disciplined?” asked Dave.

As an officer, Deras would have no credibility as a witness in court, which makes him unable to do his job, Stoddard said. He added, he believes the department should discipline any other officers allegedly involved in the McCluskey revictimization case.

In defense

Deras’ attorney, Jeremy Jones, said his client acted responsibly in his duties as an officer.

“Officer Deras did not show the photos to other officers following the briefing. He did not boast about being able to access the photos whenever he wanted,” Jones said.

‘No one deserves this re-victimization’

Debbie asked Stoddard what the implications of his bill would entail.

“Would cops be prosecuted?” she asked. “And how would you be able to prove it in court?”

Stoddard, who has worked with victims of domestic violence for much of his career, said his bill would make a violation a Class A misdemeanor on first offense for a law enforcement officer to copy, share or display an intimate image outside the scope of a police investigation. Any subsequent offense would be a third-degree felony.




Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play

Today’s Top Stories


vail resorts...
Elizabeth Weiler

Vail Resorts facing million dollar lawsuit after a Utah bowling alley incident

PARK CITY, Utah — After a bowling incident during a company party, a jury is ordering Vail Resorts’ Mountain activities to pay over $2 million for a personal injury that caused extensive surgeries.  In April, according to a case overview, Jupiter Bowl hosted a team party for Vail employees. During the party, Vail Resorts’ employees […]
1 day ago
death sentence appeal...
Becky Bruce

State intends to appeal vacated death sentence of Utah man

The state of Utah filed paperwork Monday indicating it intends to appeal the vacated death sentence of Douglas Stewart Carter, a man first sentenced to death in 1985.
1 day ago
A teacher at the school reported shots fired to police, however, Granite School District confirmed ...
Chandler Holt

False alarm of reported shots fired near Granger Elementary

Reported shots fired were loud noises from a science experiment in another classroom, Granite School District confirmed.
1 day ago
Image of the scene in Spanish Fork where a horse was hit by a car that drove through a parade (Phot...
Chandler Holt

Car drives into parade, hits horse and rider

A car drove through barricades and onto a parade route. The vehicle drove for 7 blocks before striking the horse and rider.
2 days ago
FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
4 days ago
Police in Roy are trying to determine how a vehicle crashed into an unoccupied building Friday afte...
Mark Jones

Vehicle collides with unoccupied building in Roy, no injuries

Roy Police are trying to determine how a vehicle crashed into an unoccupied building Friday afternoon. The driver was arrested after fleeing the scene.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Bill inspired by Lauren McCluskey aims to stop revictimization by police