The new ESPN documentary revisits the murder of Lauren McCluskey

The 90-minute documentary will air March 28 at 5 p.m. MDT on ESPN+.

(ESPN) EPSN is releasing a documentary titled “LISTEN” about murdered University of Utah student-athlete Lauren McCluskey.

A new ESPN documentary, airing later this month, will retell the story of the murder of University of Utah student and athlete Lauren McCluskey and the school’s mistakes and fallout that lasted for years to draw attention and advance reforms, describe in detail.

Titled “LISTEN,” the 90-minute documentary focuses on the failure of those who were supposed to listen to McCluskey when she voiced her concerns in the weeks leading up to her death, including both campus officials and university housing officials.

A later independent review concluded that little was done in response. And in October 2018, McCluskey, then 21, was shot dead outside her dorm by Melvin Rowland, a man she dated briefly and about whom she had tried to warn police. He died by suicide later that night.

[READ MORE: Here’s an updated timeline of the slaying of University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey and reform that has followed]

A trailer released by ESPN on Wednesday includes campus surveillance footage of McCluskey and Rowland in the days leading up to her murder, as well as video of McCluskey sitting with a friend in the campus police department lobby, where she is writing a report submitted.

The clips are combined with previously reported audio recordings of McCluskey calling the police when Rowland began blackmailing her about nude pictures she took of herself.

“I’m being blackmailed,” she says in the clip.

“He lied to her and is actually a sex offender,” added her mother, Jill McCluskey, in another call.

In addition to McCluskey’s parents, ESPN interviewed law enforcement officials, including a probation officer who previously supervised Rowland when he was released from prison following his sex crimes conviction. They also spoke to the campus police officer who was assigned to handle Lauren’s case.

Subsequent reports from The Salt Lake Tribune — corroborated by an independent state inquiry — revealed that an officer, Miguel Deras, had shown the intimate photos of Lauren to colleagues outside of a staff meeting without a work-related reason. In the trailer, Deras says, “No way. I wouldn’t do that to her.”

The August 2020 state review stated, “Sometime after the briefing, Officer Deras showed the pictures of a group of officers.” Several reported either making or hearing harsh comments.

The documentary features a high-profile clip from Back then-U. President Ruth Watkins spoke during a press conference in December 2018, the day the university released the independent report detailing the school’s many missteps in dealing with Lauren’s concerns.

Still, Watkins said at the time, “This report gives us no reason to believe that this tragedy could have been prevented.”

In counterpoint, the trailer features Diamond Jackson, a certified housing consultant, saying, “These parents lost their child, and you have the audacity to try to cover your A–.” In 2020, the University of Utah conceded that she could have protected McCluskey better and failed – and agreed to pay her parents $13.5 million as part of a legal settlement.

The documentary was directed by Nicole Noren, an ESPN investigative producer. It will air Tuesday, March 28 at 5 p.m. MDT on ESPN+. The new ESPN documentary revisits the murder of Lauren McCluskey

Justin Scaccy

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