GOLDEN, Colo. — A former behavior health specialist at Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center has been charged with helping a teen escape, then hiding him while he was on the run for more than a year.
Kirsten Gonzalez, 28, is scheduled to appear at the Jefferson County Courthouse on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing on felony charges of aiding an escape, escape from felony conviction and accessory to escape, and a misdemeanor count of official misconduct.
Gonzalez was forced to resign on July 23 after confessing to supervisors that she “did it” when confronted about having a relationship with Darius Peter-Dotson, an inmate at the Lookout Mountain juvenile prison who escape on Aug. 26, 2017.
Peter-Dotson is now 21 years old but was 19 when he escaped.
According to court records, “Gonzalez signed the home pass resulting in Peter-Dotson’s escape. This pass would not have been authorized by Gonzalez’s supervisors if Gonzalez had disclosed the comments she received from Peter-Dotson the week before about possible going AWOL.”
Less than two weeks after the escape, supervisors at Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center issued a letter of reprimand to Gonzalez for providing the home pass to Peter-Dotson.
But at the time, supervisors were unaware Gonzalez was in a sexual relationship with Peter-Dotson and allowing him to live with her at her Lakewood apartment with her two children, ages 9 and 10.
It wasn’t until Oct. 19, 2018, that Peter-Dotson’s time on the run came to an end.
Undercover officers with the Denver Police Department were conducting surveillance on a parked blue Chrysler Pacifica reported stolen in a carjacking on Aug. 19, 2018.
Eventually, police saw a white Mazda driven by Gonzalez, pull into an alleyway at 75 N. Federal Blvd.
Officers saw Peter-Dotson get out of the passenger side of the Mazda and approach the Pacifica only to run when officers approached him.
Moments later, police apprehended Peter-Dotson. Denver police did not notify the Division of Youth Services that Gonzalez was with Peter-Dotson when he was arrested on 11 counts related to the carjacking.
A spokesman said because it did not have jurisdiction to investigate the incidents in Jefferson County that resulted in the outstanding warrants.
Peter-Dotson pleaded guilty to robbery in June and was sentenced to six years in the Department of Corrections.
On July 16, the Golden Police Department was asked to investigate Gonzalez for her role in helping Peter-Dotson escape and harboring him while he was on the run for 14 months.
It was a parole officer who first became suspicious of Gonzalez.
Peter-Dotson was her client and according to court records, when she met with him after the carjacking arrest, “his attorney advised (Peter-Dotson) not to talk about the specifics of his relationship with his ‘spouse.'”
The parole officer noticed Peter-Dotson was “wearing a wedding ring and he talked about how he was a ‘den dad’ to his spouse’s children.”
The parole officer soon discovered a letter written to the courts in support of Peter-Dotson for an upcoming parole sentencing and noticed Gonzalez wrote it.
The parole officer remembered Gonzalez was a behavioral health specialist while Peter-Dotson was incarcerated at Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center.
A detective with Golden police discovered an email dated June 29 that appears to have been written from Gonzalez to Peter-Dotson, just days after he was sentenced for the escape in Jefferson County and the carjacking case in Denver.
In the email, the writer states, “When he gets out, we are moving away, to another state. We are going to buy a home, get married, have a baby of our own.”
In August, Golden police detectives interviewed the complex maintenance supervisor where Gonzalez lived.
He confirmed seeing Peter-Dotson inside Gonzalez’s apartment at least five times during routine maintenance visits and later identified Peter-Dotson in a photo lineup with “90% certainty” as the person he saw in Gonzalez’s apartment.
Gonzalez was escorted out of Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center on July 16 and officially resigned a week later. She was arrested on Aug. 27.