SALT LAKE CITY — The parents of slain University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey have announced their intention to sue the school.
Jill and Matt McCluskey said in a prepared statement Wednesday that they will file a legal complaint against the University of Utah "as a result of the university failing to protect student and daughter Lauren McCluskey. Lauren was murdered on campus in October of 2018 despite calling University of Utah Campus Police more than 20 times for help leading up to her murder."
The McCluskeys plan to hold a press conference in Salt Lake City on Thursday after the complaint is filed.
A legal complaint is the opening filing in a civil lawsuit.
Lauren McCluskey, 21, was shot and killed on Oct. 22 near her campus dorm by Melvin Shawn Rowland, 37, a convicted sex offender who was on the Utah Sex Offender Registry at the time of the killing. Rowland and McCluskey had gone out on dates, but she soon discovered he had lied to her about his name and age.
When McCluskey found out who he really was, she told police that Rowland attempted to blackmail her by demanding money in exchange for not distributing intimate pictures of her.15 comments on this story
From Oct. 10 until her death, McCluskey made multiple calls to the U. police department. She even called Salt Lake police in hopes of quicker action. But university police never conducted a full background check on Rowland, who was on the Utah Sex Offender Registry and had served many years in the Utah State Prison, and at least one call made by McCluskey to the officer assigned to her case went to voicemail because the officer was not on duty.
A three-member independent review panel found numerous mistakes were made by the university and by campus police, but concluded that it was impossible to say whether McCluskey's death could have been prevented. McCluskey's parents, however, have been very vocal since their daughter's killing in expressing their belief that her death was preventable and the university didn't do enough to help her.