The parents of Lauren McCluskey, a 21-year-old student who was murdered by an ex-boyfriend she had complained to police about more than 20 times, have settled two lawsuits with the University of Utah.
Two years ago, McCluskey’s body was discovered in the trunk of a parked automobile on campus. Melvin Rowland, 37, a sex offender who had spent over a decade in jail, shot and killed her. University police claimed he committed suicide hours later, following a chase with law enforcement.
Jill and Matt McCluskey, Lauren’s parents, sued the University of Utah for $56 million last year, claiming the school had failed to provide adequate safety for their daughter.
“The university acknowledges and deeply regrets that it did not handle Lauren’s case as it should have and that, at the time, its employees failed to fully understand and respond appropriately to Lauren’s situation.As a result, we failed Lauren and her family.”
In exchange for the McCluskeys’ donation to the Lauren McCluskey Foundation, the institution will pay the couple $10.5 million.
The institution has also added a shuttle service and stated it has implemented additional regulations and training to increase campus safety since the death.
McCluskey’s death was a “preventable tragedy,” according to the university
McCluskey and Rowland dated for a month after meeting in a bar. McCluskey broke up with Rowland after she found out he had a criminal record and had lied about his age and identity.
Many times over the next two weeks, she contacted school security to complain that he was harassing her by text message and trying to extort money from her. She reportedly told police she paid $1,000 to an account in an attempt to conceal embarrassing images of herself.
You see below some video excerpts demonstrating the Solved: the Devastating Murder of Lauren Mccluskey-
McCluskey’s 911 calls to Salt Lake City police reveal her mounting frustration with the university’s handling of the probe.
The university said in the settlement-
“That the murder of Lauren McCluskey was a brutal, senseless, and preventable tragedy and acknowledges the unspeakable loss the McCluskey family has suffered and continues to suffer.”
Hope for the future
The University of Utah has committed to building an indoor track facility and dedicating it to former track athlete Lauren McCluskey as part of the settlement.
McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention will be the new official name for the university’s recently established initiative to reduce violent incidents on campus.
“We share with the McCluskeys an interest in working to improve safety for all students, not only on our campus but on campuses across the country. With our commitment to learning from our mistakes, we honor Lauren and ensure her legacy will be improved campus safety for all students.”
The institution has implemented a number of measures to ensure the safety of its students, one of which is the clustering of nighttime courses in the same general area.
“We are engaged in making meaningful and lasting changes in our approach to campus safety, particularly in how we respond to and assist crime victims and through focusing on research-based approaches to violence prevention.”
She went on to say that the institution is confident these alterations will establish a culture of safety that gives victims of crime the attention and resources they need.
The Lauren McCluskey Foundation supports student track and field athletes and helps fund campus safety research and education programs.
“We have hope for the future and we hope not only that the University of Utah is a safer place, but that campuses will be safer nationwide because of what we’re doing with the foundation.”
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