ESPN investigates Lauren McCluskey’s murder | LISTEN (Full Documentary)

ESPN’s investigative documentary, “Listen,” delves into the tragic murder of track athlete Lauren McCluskey and the heartbreaking journey of her family as they seek justice. This captivating documentary exposes the shortcomings of the individuals and institutions entrusted with the responsibility of protecting McCluskey, as she struggled against her ex-boyfriend’s relentless stalking and blackmail. Through the use of never-before-seen footage, including surveillance videos and police interviews, journalists meticulously examine the series of failures that could have prevented her untimely death. The documentary also sheds light on the alleged police misconduct and institutional failures that marred McCluskey’s case, raising important questions about accountability. With interviews from key individuals involved, including Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and parole agent Megan Thomson, “Listen” exposes the painful aftermath of this tragedy and the ongoing fight for justice.

In 2018, University of Utah track athlete Lauren McCluskey found herself trapped in a nightmare as she sought help against her ex-boyfriend’s harassment and extortion. However, the very people and institutions responsible for protecting her let her down at every crucial juncture. ESPN’s powerful documentary, “Listen,” delves deep into the life of Lauren, her tragic murder, and her family’s relentless pursuit of answers. Offering unprecedented access to previously undisclosed materials, such as surveillance footage, 911 calls, and police interviews, this thought-provoking documentary uncovers the missed opportunities and systemic failures that contributed to her demise. As viewers witness the devastating impact of her case, they are confronted with the sobering reality of institutional shortcomings and the urgent need for change.

Overview of the Documentary

Examining the murder of track athlete Lauren McCluskey

In this haunting documentary, we delve into the tragic story of Lauren McCluskey, a promising track athlete whose life was cut short in a senseless act of violence. Through the lens of gripping interviews and compelling evidence, the film painstakingly examines the events leading up to and following Lauren’s murder.

ESPN investigates Lauren McCluskey’s murder | LISTEN (Full Documentary)

Revelations about failures in protecting McCluskey

As the documentary unfolds, we are confronted with shocking revelations about the numerous failures in protecting Lauren McCluskey. It becomes painfully evident that there were multiple missed opportunities to intervene and prevent this tragedy from occurring. The film uncovers glaring mistakes made by law enforcement, university authorities, and even the parole system, leaving viewers astounded and deeply disturbed.

ESPN investigates Lauren McCluskey’s murder | LISTEN (Full Documentary)

Use of previously unseen material

One of the notable aspects of this documentary is its use of previously unseen material. Through the careful curation of surveillance footage, witness accounts, and personal correspondences, the film paints a vivid and comprehensive picture of the events leading up to Lauren’s untimely demise. This wealth of new evidence sheds light on aspects of the case that were previously undisclosed, ensuring that viewers gain a deeper understanding of the circumstances surrounding her murder.

ESPN investigates Lauren McCluskey’s murder | LISTEN (Full Documentary)

Shedding light on police misconduct and institutional failures

Perhaps the most unsettling aspect that this documentary explores is the pervasive police misconduct and institutional failures that became apparent throughout the investigation. Viewers are confronted with stark evidence of negligence and incompetence within various law enforcement agencies, raising troubling questions about the systems in place to protect individuals like Lauren. This hard-hitting expose serves as a catalyst for conversations about the urgent need for comprehensive reform in order to prevent future tragedies.

ESPN investigates Lauren McCluskey’s murder | LISTEN (Full Documentary)

Settlement of the McCluskey family’s lawsuit

Shortly after the release of this documentary, an announcement was made regarding the settlement of the McCluskey family’s lawsuit against the university. Details surrounding the settlement were scarce, but it was evident that the McCluskeys had fought relentlessly to hold the responsible parties accountable for their daughter’s death. This settlement represents a complex resolution to a painful chapter in their lives, providing some measure of closure, yet also serving as a reminder of the irreplaceable void left by Lauren’s absence.

ESPN investigates Lauren McCluskey’s murder | LISTEN (Full Documentary)

Interviews with Utah Attorney General and parole agent

As the documentary unfolds, we are granted access to exclusive interviews with key individuals involved in the case, including the Utah Attorney General and the parole agent responsible for monitoring the perpetrator. These interviews provide valuable insights into the inner workings of the legal system and the specific decisions made in relation to Lauren’s case. This firsthand perspective, paired with compelling evidence, creates a compelling narrative that compels viewers to confront the devastating consequences of systemic failures.

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Content Warning

As with any documentary exploring a tragic crime, it is important to note that this program contains graphic content. Viewers should be aware that there will be descriptions of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and gun violence. While the documentary seeks to shed light on these issues and prompt critical conversations, it is crucial that viewers exercise caution and take care of their mental and emotional well-being while engaging with this material.

Background of the Case

In this section, the documentary provides a comprehensive background of the case, chronicling the events leading up to Lauren McCluskey’s murder. We learn that a close friend of Lauren’s had revealed her ex-boyfriend’s criminal history, raising concerns about his potential danger. Fearing for her safety, Lauren took steps to plan a safe breakup but remained deeply worried about the repercussions of severing ties with her ex-boyfriend.

Lauren’s fears escalated when she started experiencing harassment and extortion attempts, leading her to report the incidents to university police. Despite reaching out for help, she continued to feel threatened and decided to contact the Salt Lake City Police Department. Throughout this terrifying ordeal, Lauren maintained regular contact with a university police officer, who assured her that the investigation was ongoing.

The timeline reveals multiple instances in which Lauren’s concerns for her safety were validated, including disturbing incidents of stalking. Fearing that someone within her circle may be leaking information to her ex-boyfriend, Lauren contacted the Salt Lake City Police Department again, highlighting her persisting worries. While she received an apology from the detective assigned to her case, there was a sense of unease as she provided additional information and expressed concern about bothering the police.

Recognizing the need for additional support, Lauren sought guidance from counselors, underlining the growing anxiety and distress she was experiencing. This section of the documentary showcases the many moments in which Lauren reached out for help, revealing the heartbreaking reality of a system that failed to protect her when she needed it most.

Timeline of Events

As the documentary progresses, it takes viewers on a journey through the key events that unfolded in the lead-up to Lauren McCluskey’s murder. Surveillance footage captures glimpses of the perpetrator, heightening the tension as we are exposed to the sinister presence stalking Lauren.

In a chilling twist, a suspicious message from someone claiming to be a deputy chief raises concerns about Lauren’s safety. With the pieces of the puzzle gradually fitting together, the documentary reveals distressing moments captured on surveillance cameras that show the perpetrator lurking in the shadows, increasing the urgency to ensure Lauren’s protection.

A pivotal moment in the timeline comes when Lauren reaches out to her mother in distress, desperate for help. This distress call sets in motion a series of actions, as the police initiate a search and issue a campus-wide alert. The manhunt for the suspect unfolds, focusing on a specific parking lot as authorities work tirelessly to apprehend him.

As the situation intensifies, the campus is placed on lockdown, instilling a sense of fear and unease within the entire community. The documentary delivers the gut-wrenching blow of the tragic news of Lauren’s death, plunging viewers into a state of disbelief and heartbreak. Details of the incident are revealed, painting a vivid and devastating picture of the final moments of a young life cut short.

The documentary concludes this section with surveillance footage capturing the shooting itself, leaving viewers in a state of shock and despair. The aftermath of the incident, including a police chase and the eventual discovery of the suspect’s dead body in a church, serves as a sobering reminder of the irrevocable consequences of the failures that preceded this tragic event.

Investigations and Criticism

In the aftermath of Lauren McCluskey’s murder, investigations into the perpetrator Roland’s criminal history are explored in detail in this section of the documentary. Viewers are confronted with unsettling revelations about the failures within the university’s handling of the case, including the denial of McCluskey’s counseling records, which could have shed more light on the gravity of the threats she faced.

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The documentary also presents accounts from other women who had negative experiences with campus police, highlighting a pattern of negligence and disregard for the safety of students. Revelations regarding Roland’s criminal background and the parole system’s failures only serve to further underline the systemic issues that contributed to Lauren’s tragic fate.

Additional Revelations

As the documentary delves deeper into the case, additional revelations come to light, shedding further light on the complex web of failures and injustices. One particularly disturbing revelation is the confession from the perpetrator, Roland, concerning his manipulation and use of women. This admission serves as a chilling reminder of the underlying misogyny and the dangers faced by women in situations involving intimate partner violence.

The documentary also brings attention to the failures of the Board of Pardons to adequately investigate Roland’s admissions of rape. The film meticulously outlines the releases, violations, and threats made by Roland, exposing a dangerous individual who slipped through the cracks of a flawed parole system. The behavior of the parole agent assigned to Roland’s case is scrutinized, revealing shocking lapses in judgment and a disregard for public safety.

By presenting the backgrounds of both Melvin Sean Roland and Lauren McCluskey, the documentary paints a stark contrast between the victim and the perpetrator. This stark juxtaposition serves as a stark reminder that Lauren’s life was filled with promise and potential before it was tragically cut short.

University Response and Fallout

The outrage and shock rippling through the campus community following Lauren McCluskey’s murder are explored in this section of the documentary. It captures the profound impact her death had on those who knew her, as well as the wider community. The film highlights various legislative actions that were taken to prevent similar incidents and the launch of a State Department of Public Safety investigation into the university’s handling of the case.

The fallout from the case extended to individuals involved in the failures. Job terminations and resignations followed in the wake of the revelations exposed by the documentary and subsequent investigations. These departures had far-reaching consequences, signaling a need for accountability and a commitment to rectifying the systemic issues revealed throughout the course of the investigation.

A significant development detailed in the documentary is the settlement reached between the McCluskey family and the university. Although details of the settlement were not extensively disclosed, it symbolizes a milestone in the McCluskeys’ pursuit of justice for their daughter. The settlement serves as a small step toward healing for the family while also acting as a catalyst for conversations around the critical importance of student safety.

Additionally, the documentary highlights the creation of the Laurie McCluskey Foundation, which aims to support and advocate for the safety of students. The foundation serves as an enduring legacy for Lauren, offering support to individuals affected by similar tragedies while tirelessly working to prevent further instances of intimate partner violence.

Detective Interviews and Co-worker’s Involvement

Throughout the documentary, viewers are granted access to interviews with the detective assigned to Lauren McCluskey’s case, providing valuable insight into the investigation from law enforcement’s perspective. These interviews shed light on the challenges faced by the detective in his efforts to bring the perpetrator to justice and the impact that institutional failures had on the outcome of the case.

One particularly disturbing aspect explored in the documentary is the involvement of a co-worker in Lauren’s murder. This shocking revelation adds an additional layer of complexity to an already devastating narrative, highlighting the pervasive nature of the failings that allowed this tragedy to unfold.

Intensification of the Stalking

The documentary delves into the chilling details surrounding the intensification of the stalking experienced by Lauren McCluskey leading up to her murder. It presents a series of incidents and events that clearly demonstrate an escalation in the perpetrator’s behavior, leaving viewers with a profound sense of unease and a growing urgency for intervention.

Contact with On-campus Counselor

Recognizing the importance of mental health support, the documentary reveals that Lauren sought guidance from an on-campus counselor while she was facing the distressing events surrounding her stalking. This section offers poignant insights into the emotional toll that intimate partner violence can have on its victims and showcases the critical role that counseling and support services play in helping individuals navigate difficult situations.

Personal Reflections

In this section, the documentary explores the personal reflections of the narrator, who recounts a conversation held at the Union Center. Regret permeates the narrative as the narrator examines their own lack of action and questions how different outcomes might have been if they had been more proactive.

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A particularly chilling incident involving impersonation is recounted, adding another layer of discomfort and highlighting the depths to which the perpetrator went to instill fear within Lauren McCluskey. The narrator also reflects on a meeting between the victim and the suspect, providing striking insights into the emerging patterns of control and manipulation exhibited by the perpetrator.

Surveillance footage and the subsequent discovery of a display of firearms underscore the growing concerns raised by Diamond Jackson, a significant figure within the documentary. These concerns further emphasize the failures of the systems in place to protect victims of intimate partner violence, leaving viewers with a deep sense of frustration and anger.

Throughout this section, the narrator grapples with complex questions surrounding responsibility and blame, highlighting the systemic failures that allowed this tragedy to occur. The pain and loss experienced by the victim’s parents are poignantly captured, revealing their tireless pursuit of justice and their unwavering commitment to ensuring that no other family experiences their devastating loss.

Amidst the pain and grief, the documentary offers a glimpse of hope, as the McCluskey family donates the funds received from the settlement to the Laurie McCluskey Foundation. This act of generosity serves as a testament to the strength and resilience of the McCluskeys, inspiring viewers to join them in their mission to prevent further instances of intimate partner violence.


As the documentary concludes, viewers are reminded of the importance of raising awareness about dating violence and sharing the stories of victims like Lauren McCluskey. The documentary serves as a powerful call to action, urging individuals and institutions to take a stand against intimate partner violence and to enact meaningful change to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

In 2018, University of Utah track and field athlete Lauren McCluskey repeatedly sought help as her ex-boyfriend stalked and extorted her, but you see that the people and the institutions responsible for listening to her and protecting her failed at every turn.

You can now listen to “LISTEN,” an investigative documentary from ESPN that explores Lauren’s life, murder, and her parents’ quest for answers. In this documentary, journalists examine the steps that could have prevented her death. They have uncovered hours of material never seen or heard by the public – including surveillance video, 911 calls, and police interview and dispatch recordings. By watching, you will get an intimate look into the last weeks of Lauren’s life as she pleaded for and sought help repeatedly. Additionally, you will learn what has transpired with her case since her death at the age of 21 on Oct. 22, 2018.

The allegations of police misconduct caused unrest in the state and led to legislative change. Although the McCluskey family settled a lawsuit for $13.5 million, revelations of individual and institutional failure still emerged.

You will hear firsthand accounts from award-winning ESPN journalists T.J. Quinn and Nicole Noren, who have reported on this story for four years. They will give you a window into their investigation and the ongoing battles they faced in obtaining records from the University of Utah. The 90-minute documentary features interviews with key individuals who had never spoken publicly about the case, including Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, former campus police officer Miguel Deras, and parole agent Megan Thomson.

***Content warning: This program contains graphic descriptions of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and gun violence. Viewer discretion is advised.

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  • Director: Nicole Noren
  • Editor: Cathy Honeywell
  • Producer/Reporters: Nicole Noren, T.J. Quinn, William Weinbaum
  • Producers: Mike Drago, Cathy Honeywell, José Morales, Laura Purtell
  • Executive Producer: Rayna Banks
  • Sr. Executive Producers: Chris Buckle, Craig T. Lazarus
  • Cinematography: Cody Shimek, Jeff Halperin, Jason Jobes, Mike Walker, Sarah Nathan, Bryan Brousseau, Bob O’Reilly, Ethan Sigman
  • Production Audio: Gerald Hartley, Joel Barham, Chuck Kraft, Adam Mills, Brian Reilly
  • Motion Design: Nick Waligorski
  • Research Manager: John Mastroberardino
  • Original Music: Inza Bamba
  • Sound Design/Mixers: David Jaunai, Ben Ayotte
  • Colorist: Adam Schaub
  • Hair & Makeup: Josie Torres
  • Legal: Peter Scher, Jeremy Brodis, Jeffrey Hunt
  • Music Department: Claude Mitchell, Ryan Brodhead, Lindsay Harper
  • Production Support: Roxanne Ryan, Leo Alvarez, Tim Anderson, Rick Elders, Georgi Rivera, Gabe Vega

Music credits:

  • Alex Clare, “Too Close”: • Alex Clare – Too Close (Live Unplugged)
  • Nick Mulvey, “A Prayer Of My Own”: • Nick Mulvey – A Prayer Of My Own (Off…
  • Inza Bamba

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