SALT LAKE CITY – A state agency will take over the investigation into claims that a former University of Utah Police officer bragged about having explicit photos of slain student Lauren McCluskey, and showed them to colleagues.
Monday afternoon, the parents of Lauren McCluskey said they believe Officer Miguel Deras downloaded the sexual pictures of their daughter for personal enjoyment. That evening, University of Utah Police Chief Rodney Chatwin issued a statement describing what their department found during its own investigation into those claims.
He says their findings didn’t support the accusations made in an article by the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper, however, in an effort to regain credibility with the community, they would bring in a third party to look into the allegations.
By Tuesday morning, Department of Public Safety officials agreed to be that third party.
“We can give an unbiased set of eyes on an investigation,” says DPS Spokesman Joe Dougherty.
The department’s Office of Professional Standards will spearhead this effort, which is not the same as the Utah Peace Officers Standards and Training Academy, otherwise known as POST.
“So, essentially our Internal Affairs is assisting the University of Utah as they look into their own investigation,” Dougherty says. “All three investigators will be assisting the University of Utah.”
Dougherty says the investigation will be complete and thorough, but they can’t set a time frame for how long it will last. He says some last for a few weeks, while others could take months.
“The team will want to work as quickly as possible because people deserve answers, but we don’t have an exact time frame for when it will be complete,” Dougherty says.
Attorneys for Officer Miguel Deras are fully refuting the claims made in the Tribune article. They told KSL Newsradio’s Dave and Dujanovic that he never downloaded the pictures or bragged about having them. University officials recently told KSL that Deras had the pictures on his phone because McCLuskey texted them to him directly as part of her extortion complaint against Melvin Rowland.
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