Lauren McCluskey's Killer Tried To Blackmail Her With Revenge Porn

Photo: Courtesy of Lauren McCluskey's Facebook.
The man who killed University of Utah senior and track star Lauren McCluskey after briefly dating her also allegedly threatened to post compromising pictures of them together unless the 21-year-old paid him, authorities said on Thursday.
McCluskey broke off her month-long relationship with Melvin Rowland, a 37-year-old registered sex offender, after learning he had lied about his name, age, and criminal past. He subsequently began harassing her, sending her emails and text messages under different aliases, and lurking around campus trying to confront her.
McCluskey reported Rowland to campus police, telling officials that the man demanded to be paid or he would post compromising pictures of them together online. In an effort to stop him, McCluskey sent him $1,000, officials said. A sex extortion investigation was opened into Rowland, but even though he was on parole, authorities failed to report him to the Utah Department of Corrections.
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On Monday, Rowland confronted McCluskey after she came back from a night class, forced her into a car, and fatally shot her. Afterwards, he went on a date with a woman he had met online. She was unaware of what he had done until she saw the news reports of the shooting and recognized him. Rowland died by suicide early Tuesday after a police manhunt.
According to the Utah Department of Corrections, Rowland was convicted on charges of enticing a minor and attempted forcible sexual abuse, both felonies, in 2004. He spent nearly a decade in jail and was released in 2013. But before that happened, Rowland called himself a womanizer and manipulator, according to a recording of 2012 hearing released by Utah officials.
"Our society often asks, 'Well, why doesn't she just leave?' But when she does, there's a lot of barriers and obstacles that victims face," Hamra Ahmad, director of legal services of the New York-based legal nonprofit organization Her Justice, told Refinery29 earlier this week. She added that McCluskey breaking off her relationship was likely a breaking point for Rowland, who had a history of violence against women. "They are often not aware that the most dangerous point of that relationship is when they leave. That's when the risk increases exponentially because the perpetrator has lost control [of the relationship]."
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