Family of murdered athlete receives whopping settlement

  • Family of murdered athlete receives whopping settlement

Family of murdered athlete receives whopping settlement

While the multi-million dollar settlement with the University of Utah will help the family move forward with Lauren McCluskey's legacy, Thursday marks a hard day as the two year anniversary of the student athlete's murder on campus.

The settlement of two lawsuits calls for Utah to pay $10.5 million to McCluskey's parents, Matt and Jill, and donate $3 million to the Lauren McCluskey Foundation by March 31, 2021.

"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".

"We failed Lauren and her family", Watkins said. It comes on the second anniversary of her death. The man killed himself hours later following a police chase.

The settlement was announced by McCluskey's parents and University of Utah President Ruth Watkins at a joint news conference in Salt Lake City.

McCluskey, 21 of Pullman, Washington, had contacted university police more than 20 times to report harassment by the man she had dated before she was found fatally shot in a vehicle near on-campus student housing in October 2018. Three days later, while on the phone with her mother, Lauren was abducted by Rowland and shot to death in her own auto, according to police.

Jill McCluskey, fighting back tears as she addressed reporters Thursday, said the school has made progress in addressing campus safety issues over the past two years.

Watkins said if the employees had "more complete training and protocols to guide their responses", they would have been able to protect Lauren.

Lauren had contacted the university police more than 20 times to complain about Rowland, a convicted sex offender who spent more than a decade in prison.

The statement did not specify or refer to campus police and housing officials, but employees from both departments had been named in the lawsuit.

Jill McCluskey, who is a professor at Washington State University, also introduced the Lauren's Promise initiative, where professors can pledge in their syllabus that they will help any student that feels threatened find the resources that they need.

Lauren's family said the money will go to the Lauren McCluskey foundation, which supports charitable work in campus safety, amateur athletics, and animal welfare, according to the foundation's website.

Utah also announced that it will raise funds to construct an indoor track facility that will be named after Lauren McCluskey.

Thursday's acknowledgment that the university erred is different than what was said in the weeks after the death.

The family had also been seeking access to the records from Lauren's visit with a mental health counselor on campus, which the school resisted in court.

On the night of the killing, Jill McCluskey was on the phone with her daughter when the attack occurred.