The Logan City Police Department is launching an investigation into an officer after a report surfaced that he “bragged” of possessing explicit images of a woman shortly before she was murdered.
At the time, Miguel Deras was an officer with the University of Utah Police Department assigned to work on the case of Lauren McCluskey, who had complained to police that Melvin Rowland was extorting her over the explicit photos after she broke up with him, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Deras saved the photos to his personal phone and on at least one occasion showed them to a co-worker and “bragged about getting to look at them whenever he wanted,” The Tribune states, citing two fellow officers and a confirmation from the UofU itself after more than a year of the paper seeking public records.
Lauren McCluskey was killed days after the incident with Deras was alleged to have occurred. Police believe Rowland shot and killed McCluskey before killing himself in October 2018.
Deras now works for the Logan City Police Department.
Hours after the report was published on Sunday, the Logan City Police Department stated the article was the first the department had heard of the incident allegedly involving one of its officers. The LCPD release states it is “very concerned” and has started an internal investigation.
“At the end of the investigation we will take whatever action is appropriate based on the facts we discover,” LCPD states.
In its original statement, LCPD did not anticipate further comment until its investigation got further along, but Chief Gary Jensen stated Monday that the department was “blindsided by what was reported.”
“Although the allegations are difficult to read, and very serious in nature, please remember they are allegations,” Jensen stated. “We are taking the allegations seriously and are investigating the claims, while ensuring due process is also being served.”
LCPD is contacting the UofU Police Department, which Logan police heard has already done an “in-depth internal investigation, on this very claim” that did not substantiate the allegations, Jensen stated.
Jensen stated it will contact The Salt Lake Tribune and “seek opportunity to speak to their unnamed source for further clarification and information.” Such an opportunity would likely depend on whether the source wishes to speak to Logan police or not, since in most cases reporters are protected from disclosing the identity of anonymous sources by Utah Rule of Evidence 509.
Jensen once again voiced concern over the emotional impact the new publicity may have.
“Lauren’s murder was a devastating crime for the McCluskey family and our community,” Jensen stated. “Our hearts and minds are with the McCluskey family through another round of difficult media.”