Former Utah SC Chief Justice to Represent McCluskey’s Death Lawsuit
The civil rights lawsuit filed by the parents of Lauren McCluskey is being joined by a former Utah Supreme Court chief justice, according to a Salt Lake Tribune report.
On Monday, Christine Durham, who has done legal work on discrimination against women, formally announced joining the legal team that is representing Lauren’s parents, Jill and Matt McCluskey.
“I’ve spent a lifetime being concerned about the status of women in society and the disadvantages they face. The issue of domestic violence has really been at the top of that list for so many years,” Durham said during a press conference.
McCluskey was shot and killed by Melvin Rowland, 37, outside of her campus dormitory on October 22, weeks after she ended her relationship with him. Rowland was a convicted sex offender and had spent nearly one decade in prison. After a brief police chase, Rowland killed himself on the same night.
The $56 million lawsuit filed in July by the parents alleged university of failing to take measures to protect 21-year-old senior and athlete McCluskey who had complained many times to campus police about being repeatedly stalked and harassed by Rowland.
The allegations in the lawsuit were mostly based on an independent investigation into the university’s conduct by former Utah Department of Public Safety Commissioner John T. Nielsen.
The report said that a formal investigation was launched by the campus police on October 19, six days after McCluskey first communicated her concerns to the officers. The detective who was assigned to the case did not investigate it until her death. At the same time, McCluskey called the Salt Lake City police dispatch line twice for additional help.
In September, University of Utah officials filed papers in a U.S. District Court suggesting that law can’t hold the universities accountable for crimes committed by criminals on whom it lacks control.
“The history of the treatment of Lauren McCluskey by university authorities in a period of grave danger and terror in her life is disappointing in the extreme, and in the end, led to her horrifying death,” Durham added.