AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — An Aurora city council member has been awarded $3 million after bringing a civil lawsuit against a former child caseworker who made false child abuse accusations.
Councilwoman Danielle Jurinsky was awarded $3 million in damages after filing a lawsuit against former child caseworker Robin Niceta on claims of libel and slander.
Jurinksy’s lawsuit stems from child abuse accusations made anonymously that were investigated by police and determined to be false. According to court paperwork it came in on a phone number listed by Niceta in her personnel file.
This is separate from a case involving Jurinsky and dozens of other women against Niceta. In that suit, the women claim Niceta lured them in, made sexual advances toward them and then tried to rip families apart when those advances were denied.
“I hope the county starts taking me seriously and thinking about wanting to settle with me,” Jurinsky said about the class action lawsuit that is pending. “I also hope that it brings hope to all of those that have joined in the class action suit and anybody out there who has felt wronged faced false allegations and not been able to fight or stand up. I hope this in some way validates your feelings. You’re not wrong.”
Jurinsky details accusations in her lawsuit
In Jurinksy’s case, Niceta is accused of calling in an anonymous tip to report that Jurinsky was sexually abusing her own son. Law enforcement authorities were able to trace the anonymous call back to Niceta’s personal cell phone number, said the suit.
The abuse accusations against Jurinsky were made after she criticized fired police chief Vanessa Wilson, Niceta’s then partner, in a radio interview.
The Aurora Police Department obtained Niceta’s county-issued laptop and phone which showed that she had searched for Jurnisky’s address and for the “child abuse and neglect reporting hotline” just minutes before she made the allegations against Jurinsky.
An investigation was launched following the allegations made against Jurinsky, and after 15 days the investigation was closed after investigators found no wrongdoing.
“Every time this gets brought up. Every time I have to go before the court, I’m essentially reliving parts of what I went through for those 15 days. And I’m forced to think about it and it’s tough,” Jurinsky told FOX31’s Vicente Arenas after the decision became public.
Damages awarded to Jurinksy
After filing the civil lawsuit, the Arapahoe County District Court found that Niceta had harmed Jurinsky’s reputation and caused humiliation and emotional distress.
Based on the court’s consideration, Jurinksy was awarded compensatory damages of $1.5 million and an additional award for exemplary damages of $1.5 million for a total of $3 million.
“I wasn’t written a check for $3 million. Robin Niceta doesn’t have $3 million,” she said. “But what this judge did was she empowered me to be able to have this follow Robin probably for life. I will never let up. Ever. And the judge gave me that opportunity.”
Jurinsky told FOX31’s Vicente Arenas that any money she receives from this lawsuit or the class action lawsuit will be donated to a non-profit aimed at overseeing agencies like Child Protective Services and holding them accountable for wrongdoing.
FOX31 reached out to Niceta for comment but has not heard back.