By Associated Press - Thursday, June 11, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The University of Utah deputy police chief resigned following his suspension related to an investigation into the handling of photos of a student-athlete who was killed.

Rick McLenon stepped down Monday, less than a month after he was placed on leave as part of the investigation into the handling by one of his officers of sensitive photos of Lauren McCluskey, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Wednesday.

University spokesman Chris Nelson confirmed McLenon’s resignation, but declined to provide a reason or say whether the departure was related to the state Department of Public Safety’s investigation of the McCluskey case.

McCluskey, 21, was fatally shot outside her dormitory in October 2018 by Melvin Rowland, a 37-year-old registered sex offender on parole whom she briefly dated. He died by suicide hours later.

McCluskey contacted police on the Salt Lake City campus several times to report Rowland was harassing her after she ended their relationship.

McLenon was responsible in 2019 for investigating concerns about Officer Miguel Deras, who was assigned to investigate McCluskey’s reports she was being extorted over private photos.

Two other officers said Deras had a sensitive photo or photos of McCluskey on his personal phone and shared at least one of them with co-workers before she was killed. The university confirmed the allegation.

University police Chief Rodney Chatman questioned the “thoroughness” of the internal review by McLenon. Chatman placed McLenon and another staff member on leave while ordering an additional public safety department investigation.

The university has not received a report from the public safety department, Nelson said.

McLenon, who joined the university in May 2014, could not immediately be reached by phone Wednesday.

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