Ex-partner of former Aurora police chief accused of filing false child abuse report pleads not guilty
The ex-partner of the former Aurora police chief pleaded not guilty Monday in a criminal case where she is accused of calling in a false child abuse complaint against a city councilwoman after the councilwoman publicly criticized the police chief.
Robin Niceta, 40, who was a romantic partner to former Aurora police Chief Vanessa Wilson, called in the false tip on Jan. 28, according to authorities — a day after Aurora city councilwoman Danielle Jurinsky criticized Wilson during an appearance on a talk radio show, including calling Wilson trash. Wilson was fired from her position in April.
Through her attorney Marci Labranche, Niceta entered a not guilty plea in Arapahoe County District Court on Monday afternoon. A three-day trial is scheduled for May 9.
Niceta was charged in May on suspicion of attempting to influence a public servant, a felony, as well as a misdemeanor count of making a false report about child abuse. Investigators alleged Niceta, who worked for the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services, called an anonymous child abuse hotline and submitted the made-up allegations of child abuse, which prompted an about two-week investigation by authorities into the councilwoman before they determined the tip was false and Jurinsky was cleared of wrongdoing.
Niceta was later allowed to resign after police tracked the call to her. Jurinksy sued Niceta for libel and slander, and filed a class-action lawsuit against the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services, alleging the agency wrongfully takes children from their parents.
“I just want everyone out there who is following this case and who has had similar run-ins with a (department of human services) or a (child protective services) department that, just keep the hope, keep the faith. Justice will prevail,” Jurinsky told The Denver Post after Monday’s hearing. “This is just the first step in exposing these organizations.”
Jurinsky expressed concern to the court about the time it was taking for the criminal case to be resolved — attributed to scheduling with the defense attorney and ongoing criminal cases the judge was presiding over. Jurinsky told The Denver Post that the process was “excruciating,” and though part of her is shocked Niceta didn’t take the plea deal she was offered, she believes a jury will find Niceta guilty and “justice will be served.”
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