Lauren McCluskey’s parents say they plan to sue the University of Utah and its police department for not taking “responsibility for their failures” in responding to her concerns before she was murdered on campus.
The lawsuit, which is expected to be filed Thursday, will focus on the school’s shortcomings, said Jill McCluskey, Lauren’s mother, in a tweet posted Wednesday evening.
Any money raised through the litigation, she added, will go to the foundation the family has set up to honor Lauren McCluskey.
McCluskey, a 21-year-old student-athlete, was fatally shot outside her campus dorm on Oct. 22 by Melvin S. Rowland, a 37-year-old registered sex offender on parole whom she had briefly dated. He died by suicide hours later.
She had contacted campus police several times in the weeks before that to report harassment — and his threats to release compromising photos of her — after ending their relationship Oct. 9. Many of those concerns were not taken seriously, investigators later found.
“Women experience assault. They experience intimidation. Oftentimes they’re not listened to when they try to express their concerns and fears,” said attorney Jim McConkie, who is representing the family. “Hopefully, this will raise the level of consciousness at the U.”