ALL NEWS

No charges for former U. officer who showed intimate photos of Lauren McCluskey to coworkers

Oct 15, 2020, 11:05 AM | Updated: 2:50 pm
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– The former University of Utah officer involved in the Lauren McCluskey case who the school says showed intimate photos of the student-athlete to co-workers will not face criminal charges according to the District Attorney. 

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill confirmed Thursday that his office has decided not to pursue charges against Miguel Deras for showing photos of McCluskey. 

Gill tells KSL Deras’ behavior was reckless and he knows this will be an unpopular decision where people will have good reason to be furious.

“I think everybody can agree that this is really unacceptable conduct,” he said.

However, he says it was the only decision he was allowed to make under Utah’s current laws. 

Gill said, “It’s reckless and, I think, hurtful and it caused injury to people, but I just don’t have a statutory remedy that I can make fit.”

According to Gill, revenge porn laws are written so they specifically protect the person involved in those images, and they don’t apply to that person’s family.  Gill believes sharing the pictures was harmful to McCLuskey, but it would be impossible to prove any kind of “injury” since she was dead at the time Deras reportedly shared them.

“Certainly the family felt that hurt and that injury, along with [Lauren’s] reputation, but there is no provision in the law that allows us to [charge Deras],” he said.

Gill believes this case shows there is a massive hole in Utah’s criminal code when it comes to sharing these kinds of images, and he’s taking steps to fix that.

“We’re working with a legislator to try to articulate that kind of a scenario where an officer has what would otherwise be deemed as ‘protected information’ and it serves no lawful purpose to share that with a third party,” Gill said.

 

Before her murder on Oct. 22, 2018, McCluskey reported incidents of harassment and extortion by her ex-boyfriend 37-year-old Melvin Shawn Rowland to campus police. Deras was assigned to her case where McCluskey shared intimate photos of herself to him as a form of evidence.  

In a statement made earlier this year after an independent review, 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 he says investigators did find evidence Deras showed the photos to, “a small number of officers” who “inappropriately commented on the photos before, during or immediately after a shift change briefing.” An action Chatman called “inexcusable.” 

Lauren’s mother Jill McCluskey responded to the findings in August saying that the University of Utah, “continues to mislead, cover up the facts, and fails to take responsibility for the murder of our daughter.”

The DPS report shows that Officer Miguel Deras accessed the photo email attachments unnecessarily on his phone multiple times.  UU Police Chief Rodney Chatman stated that the report found no evidence that Deras downloaded the picture files, but of course, that is irrelevant to him being able to view them whenever he wanted on his phone. He showed the photos to other officers on at least four occasions, including to the officer in charge after receiving them, at a meeting where he walked around a table with multiple officers showing pictures to each one of them, in a hallway where inappropriate comments were made, and at the scene of Lauren’s murder, which is especially hurtful.  Deras’ egregious misconduct in betraying a victim’s trust by displaying private evidence photos to officers who are not involved in the investigation is a crime.

McCluskey added on Thursday that the DA’s decision could cause more women to hesitate in coming forward with reports of abuse.

Deras later left the U’s police department and joined the Logan Police Department. During the investigation of showing McCluskey’s photos to co-workers, Deras was fired from the Logan Police Department

Gill is expected to discuss the decision not to file charges against Deras later this afternoon. 

This story is breaking and will be updated. 

 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

...
Ike Yospe

BYU Big 12 Preview Special

The BYU Football Big XII schedule is finally here! Friday February 3 at noon, don’t miss a special hour as KSL’s BYU Insider Mitch Harper Breaks it all down and previews one of the most exciting BYU football seasons to date! Plus don’t miss extended coverage on Cougar Sports Saturday, Saturday from 12-3 PM on […]
15 hours ago
Shots were reportedly fired in the parking lot of Taylorsville High School on Thursday afternoon, l...
BY MADISON SWENSON, KSL TV

Teen arrested for firing shots in Taylorsville High parking lot

A 17-year-old boy was arrested in connection to the shots fired last week in the parking lot of Taylorsville High School.
15 hours ago
humane society...
Elizabeth Weiler

Humane Society of Utah says to adopters “come one, come all”

The Humane Society of Utah says their shelters are filling up, especially with large breed dogs and puppies.
15 hours ago
amber alert...
Adam Small

Suspect in Layton Amber Alert charged

LAYTON, Utah– Prosecutors in Davis County have officially filed charges against a man suspected of kidnapping a 13-year-old boy, which prompted police to send out an Amber Alert in December. New charging documents allege Aaron Michael Zeman, 26, also known as Tadashi Kojima, had been communicating with the 13-year-old Layton boy as far back as […]
15 hours ago
Tyre Nichols...
Elizabeth Weiler

MLK invoked as Tyre Nichols’ life is celebrated in Memphis

(CNN) — Mourners, from Vice President Kamala Harris to the activist the Rev. Al Sharpton, on Wednesday celebrated the life of Tyre Nichols, whose death at the hands of police in Memphis led to second-degree murder charges against five officers. “Mothers around the world, when their babies are born, pray to God when they hold […]
15 hours ago
The Federal Reserve unanimously approved a quarter-point interest rate hike Wednesday, slowing the ...
Nicole Goodkind, CNN

Fed approves small rate hike, nodding to improved inflation outlook

The decision comes after months of large rate increases intended to cool the economy and marks a return to a more traditional interest-rate policy.
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

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...
Macey's

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
No charges for former U. officer who showed intimate photos of Lauren McCluskey to coworkers