Forty mothers are suing a female former child protective worker in Colorado, accusing her of submitting false abuse and neglect complaints in order to separate children from their parents, as well as threatening some of them to remove their children from them if the moms rejected her sexual advances.
The class-action lawsuit filed by Aurora Councilwoman Danielle Jurinsky, which also names the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services as a defendant, alleges Robin Niceta of Arapahoe County plied parents and caretakers with liquor and propositioned them.
“Defendants have not only violated the United States Constitution and federal law in doing so but have also, through their actions in baselessly separating or attempting to separate children from their parents or caretakers, caused unspeakable trauma to so many individuals in Arapahoe County, including both children and their parents or other caretakers alike,” the lawsuit states.
“So far, several parents have come forward to let us know that they also had their children taken away from them as a result of Robin Niceta’s actions related to their cases whether by what they believe to be false testimony during court or what they believe to be false reports,” Elliot Singer, a former Colorado assistant attorney general who is preparing the lawsuit, stated, The Gazette reported.
Niceta had been romantically involved with former Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson. After Jurinsky publicly criticized Wilson in January, the next day Niceta allegedly made an anonymous call to a child abuse hotline, claiming she was an employee at one of Jurinsky’s restaurants and heard Jurinsky ask, “Do you want to see something funny?” before touching her son inappropriately, reported Denver7 News.
Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department investigators stated in an affidavit that the call came from Niceta’s personal cellphone. The Department of Human Services later decided Jurinsky was innocent of any wrongdoing.
“I hope to see justice served in this case,” Jurinsky told Denver7 News. “It’s disgusting. I just cry. You can’t just weaponize the system and just make false allegations against someone and their child and get away with it.”
“All I can say is this is a parent’s worst nightmare to get a call like I got and to be under an investigation like I was, knowing that it was a complete lie and knowing that it was retaliation for my opinions,” she continued. “I can take the criticism, and I can take the name-calling. And, you know, my businesses have been attacked. The last six months have been absolutely brutal. But you go after someone’s child and that’s a different arena. Every other attack that has come my way, I can handle on my feet and I can fire back and I can fight back. You involve my child and it brings me to my knees. And it becomes a different kind of fight.”
The lawsuit quotes one mom who said Niceta told her she had gift cards to offer her and that when she went to Niceta’s home, Niceta targeted her. “Once this member of the class declined what was clearly sexual advances, Niceta essentially turned on her and did everything in her power to make sure the child was permanently removed,” Singer claimed.
Jamie Schneider told The Gazette that in 2017, Niceta, who was investigating whether Schneider’s son could stay with her, went after her in Niceta’s home. “She just would make passes at me, and I turned them down. And as a result, she had me sign away my rights to my son to the dad. That was in retaliation for me turning down her passes.”
“She said that Niceta originally kept remarking how beautiful she was but became cold and stern after Schneider told her she planned to remain married,” The Gazette noted.
Luc Hatlestad, an Arapahoe County spokeswoman, declared, “The County takes allegations of intentionally false reporting seriously — especially when they involve employees. Our case workers routinely serve those most vulnerable within our community with the highest levels of professionalism and compassion. We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior, which undermines the critical work of our team.”
“This issue crosses all party lines,” Jurinsky concluded. “We are parents, and this should not happen to any parent, or any child in this county, in this state, in this country or the world, period. And this is going to end now. Robin Niceta, you picked a fight with the wrong person.”
Niceta quit her job in May; on May 16 an arrest warrant was issued for her.