LOGAN CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The police officer at the center of an investigation into misconduct in the Lauren McCluskey extortion case has been fired.
The Logan City Police Department announced Friday that officer Miguel Deras’ employment with the department had ended “effective immediately.” Deras joined Logan City police after leaving the University of Utah amid internal investigations into the handling of McCluskey’s case.
Deras was accused of inappropriately sharing and bragging about having access to inmate photos that were used to extort McCluskey before her death.
The department said Deras was a probationary employee, and he was released after an internal review of the recently-released investigation by the Department of Public Safety.
According to the Department of Public Safety report released Wednesday, investigators found “no evidence” that Deras downloaded the photos to his personal phone, but it was concluded that Deras showed the intimate photos to at least three male officers who were not involved in the case on more than one occasion.
That’s when, the report states, other officers made inappropriate and unprofessional comments about the photos.
McCluskey’s mother, Jill, described the revelations in the DPS report as “especially hurtful.”
“Deras’ egregious misconduct in betraying a victim’s trust by displaying private evidence photos to officers who are not involved in the investigation is a crime,” Jill McCluskey said in a statement.
“The conclusions drawn in the DPS report are inconsistent with the high expectations and standards placed upon our officers by the community and our department. Our continuing efforts to hold sacred the public’s trust and our duty to serve and protect has resulted in today’s decision,” said the department in a statement.
Deras has always denied the allegations against him. His attorney sent out a three-page letter– stating, in part, that the DPS report “does not remotely confirm that anything inappropriate was said or done by Deras.”
McCluskey originally submitted the photos to university police because a man she briefly dated was attempting to extort her. That man, Melvin Rowland, murdered her on campus 10 days later.