SANDY, Utah — The agency that certifies and disciplines all police officers in Utah confirmed to FOX 13 it has now launched an investigation into a police officer accused of improperly accessing explicit photos of murdered U of U student Lauren McCluskey.
Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) said it launched its own investigation after local news reports about Officer Miguel Deras, who now works for the Logan Police Department.
"Investigations are conducted in an impartial manner to respect the due process rights for those involved," Joe Dougherty, a spokesperson for Utah's Department of Public Safety, said. "Neither the Utah Department of Public Safety nor the POST Division will comment on the investigation while it is active. Once the investigation is complete, investigators will decide a course of action, which could be to close the investigation with no further action or to make a recommendation to the POST Council."
Deras has been accused of improperly downloading the photos, which McCluskey gave to University of Utah police as evidence of extortion against the man she dated, with the expectation that they'd arrest the man -- who was a convicted felon violating parole. Instead, that man shot and killed McCluskey before he died by suicide. The accusation against Deras was first reported by The Salt Lake Tribune.
It is the second investigation into the officer's actions that is known. Utah's Office of Professional Standards is also looking into the situation. The University of Utah has asked DPS to conduct an outside investigation into the situation.
On Wednesday May 20, the McCluskey family released a statement through their lawyer staing mediation with the University of Utah was unsuccessful.
“Unfortunately, this week's mediation with the University of Utah was not successful. We appreciate the opportunity to have had free and frank discussions with the University.
The McCluskey's sole desire is to improve safety and prevent a similar tragedy at the University of Utah and other campuses throughout the United States. Every dollar from a potential settlement would go directly to achieving that goal through the Lauren McCluskey Foundation.
While Jill and Matt McCluskey continue to be disappointed in the University of Utah, they are always willing to discuss and work through differences in the future.”
The University responded with a statement of their own regarding mediation,
The University of Utah participated in a two-day mediation with the McCluskey family and their attorneys. We hoped to reach an agreement that established a legacy that honored Lauren’s memory and benefitted our students through an enduring commitment to best practices in campus safety. We worked very hard to find common ground and, although we were unable to achieve a resolution, we found the discussions helpful. We appreciate the willingness of the McCluskeys and their attorneys to engage in these efforts. We are hopeful our discussions will continue with the goal of reaching a mutually agreeable outcome.
Since Lauren’s murder on our campus two years ago, we have invested in personnel, practices, policies, and infrastructure aimed at making our campus safer. We have integrated safety as a core principle of the university to ensure this work is comprehensive, sustained, innovative and evolves as practices emerge and change. The university is committed to making meaningful and lasting changes in our approach to campus safety, particularly in how we respond to and assist crime victims.