Ex-Aurora Chief Vanessa Wilson’s partner submitted false child-abuse tip about councilwoman, investigators say

The partner of former Aurora police Chief Vanessa Wilson called in a fabricated child-abuse tip against an Aurora City Council member who had been critical of Wilson, according to an Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office warrant for the partner’s arrest.

Wilson’s partner, Robin Niceta, called a child-abuse hotline on Jan. 28 and reported that months earlier she witnessed Aurora Councilwoman Danielle Jurinsky inappropriately touch Jurinsky’s child, the arrest affidavit shows.

Jurinsky told investigators that she believed the tip was retribution for comments critical of Wilson that she had made Jan. 27 during a talk radio show, including calling the chief “trash.”

The report kicked off an investigation into Jurinsky by the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services, the same agency where Niceta worked.

When the human services investigation found no wrongdoing on the part of Jurinsky, the investigation turned to finding out who made the false report. The investigation into Niceta was first reported by CBS Denver.

Investigators with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office traced the hotline call to a phone number registered to Niceta, whom they identified as Wilson’s partner. Niceta in a May 3 interview with investigators denied that she knew anything about the call. She said only she and Wilson had access to her phone.

A search of Niceta’s phone records showed earlier in the day she tried to call her own work number using *67 — the phone code that prevents the recipient of a call from seeing the number calling.

The phone records also show that Niceta texted someone at 7 p.m. that night — two hours after the abuse report was made — saying she had received a case about a councilwoman sexually abusing her child. Another employee at the Department of Human Services told investigators it was impossible Niceta would know about a hotline report two hours after it was made.

A search of Niceta’s work laptop also found that someone searched “Danielle Jurinsky Address,” “child abuse and neglect reporting hotline” and “does the child abuse hotline keep phone numbers in colorado” about five minutes before the abuse report was made on Jan. 28, according to the arrest affidavit.

Neither Niceta nor Wilson’s attorney immediately responded to a call for comment Monday.

Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly fired Wilson on April 6, citing unspecified concerns with her leadership.

Niceta on May 4 resigned her position as a mastery caseworker with the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services, where she handled sexual abuse and trafficking cases.

“Please take this email as my immediate resignation from Arapahoe County,” Niceta wrote in her resignation email. “I appreciate the last 5 years and I wish you both the very best.”

Arapahoe County takes all allegations of false reporting seriously, especially involving employees, county spokesman Luc Hatlestad said in a statement.

“We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior, which undermines the critical work of our team,” Hatlestad said. “Upon receiving an allegation of false reporting by an employee, we immediately engaged law enforcement and conducted an internal investigation.”

Jurinsky on Monday told The Denver Post through tears that she felt relief when she heard the news about the criminal charges. She said she wants to seek justice.

The allegations were made about Jurinsky on Jan. 28, the same day Councilman Juan Marcano asked to censure Jurinsky for her comments about Wilson on the radio show.

The councilwoman said she didn’t care about the censure because she was dealing with the sexual abuse allegations at the time — what she called the longest 15 days of her life.

“I mean, I couldn’t even breathe when this caseworker called me,” she said. “My mind went blank and I couldn’t breathe, literally.”

Jurinsky said it was awful for her family. She couldn’t even look at her 2-year-old son without crying.

“You don’t make allegations as heinous as this without the intent of taking my child from me,” she said.

Jurinsky will hold a news conference at 3 p.m. Monday to discuss the case.

The arrest warrant shows Niceta is wanted on suspicion of retaliation against an elected official. She had not been taken into custody as of 1:45 p.m. Monday.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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