Judge awards $3 million to Aurora councilor in libel case against ex-APD chief’s former girlfriend

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Aurora City Councilmember Danielle Jurinsky speaks during an Aug. 25, 2022, news conference announcing a class-action lawsuit involving Arapahoe County and employees of the county Dept. of Human Services.
Photo by PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

AURORA | An Arapahoe County judge has ordered the former partner of fired Aurora police chief Vanessa Wilson to pay $3 million in damages to City Council member Danielle Jurinsky, who was falsely accused of abusing her toddler son.

At the time, Robin Niceta worked for the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services and was intimately involved with Wilson. The day after Jurinsky criticized Wilson on a regional talk radio show, in January 2022, Niceta allegedly called the county anonymously to allege that Jurinsky had sexually abused her own son.

County investigators looked into the tip and determined it was unfounded. Police later traced the call to Niceta, who was charged with retaliation against an elected official, a sixth-degree felony, and making a false report of child abuse as a mandatory reporter, a second-degree misdemeanor.

Jurinsky filed a separate civil lawsuit against Niceta in August for libel, slander and extreme and outrageous conduct.

After receiving no response, in October, the court granted a default judgment against Niceta, ruling in December that she owed Jurinsky $3 million in damages for “​​harm to reputation, humiliation and emotional distress” as well as to dissuade similar behavior in the future.

The damages include $100,000 for each of the 15 days the county investigation into Jurinsky was open on top of an additional $1.5 million, in part to “send a message that (this) kind of conduct cannot and should not be tolerated by anybody.”

“(T)he Court finds that the conduct was especially egregious since it was done by a person tasked with protecting children and knew full well that her false report would result in an investigation and potential separation of a young vulnerable child and a parent, with unknown potential harm to that child,” 18th Judicial District Judge Elizabeth Volz wrote in her ruling.

The ruling was first reported Friday by a CBS Denver reporter. Jurinsky did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Niceta was not available for comment.

The criminal case against Niceta will continue March 30 with a motions hearing. Niceta pleaded not guilty to the charges against her in December.

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GeneD
12 days ago

I hope Wilson comes back and sues her for the demeaning and disparaging remarks Jurinsky made on the radio show, Wilson could probably use the same charges.

Doug
Doug
12 days ago
Reply to  GeneD

Defamation of character, “harm to reputation, humiliation and emotional distress” its all there. Hope she sues as well.

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
12 days ago
Reply to  Doug

LOL, if that was the case, Wilson already would have hired a lawyer months ago. Instead, her dumb spouse went off the reservation and got spanked in court. That judgement definitely isn’t going to help her criminal case.

But that certainly won’t stop you and Gene from marinating in your own repressive tolerance.

GeneD
9 days ago

‘Repressive tolerance?’ how does that work? Which fascist site or AM talk show did you grab that from?

Blaze
Blaze
12 days ago
Reply to  GeneD

Big difference between free speech and character assassination and slander. But you do you, Gene.

GeneD
9 days ago
Reply to  Blaze

Seems like calling someone ‘a piece of trash’ is defamatory, and calling for someone’s firing while speaking as an elected official is a violation of the City Charter. That’s not free speech, but you can continue to defend the indefensible as you see fit…that’s free speech.

Brent G Taylor
Brent G Taylor
12 days ago
Reply to  GeneD

Was removing Wilson from the job best for APD, the city and the right thing to do? Well that’s become pretty obvious in hindsight. That Jurinsky had the foresight to call that out on talk radio, using her Constitutional right to free speech and opinion, is dubiously odd to deny someone just because they’re on City Council. Parliamentary rules and all that.

Very different than using position in Social Services to trump up false charges. That’s criminal.

3 million does seem like a lot. Hopefully, as described as her intent to cover other plaintiffs using the whatever proceeds she actually collects of the judgment, Jurinsky doesn’t end up getting rich off this incident.

Last edited 12 days ago by Brent G Taylor
Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
12 days ago
Reply to  Brent G Taylor

The amount was probably to serve as a disincentive to anyone who thinks about doing something similar in the future. There’s obviously no way Niceta can afford to pay that much unless she’s basically paying it off for the rest of her life.

GeneD
9 days ago
Reply to  Brent G Taylor

Umm, what does your hindsight see that justifies the action? Is Aurora safer?

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
12 days ago
Reply to  GeneD

Being critical of someone on your side isn’t a crime, Gene, although you marxists certainly want to make it so.

GeneD
9 days ago

Back to name calling and labeling? How sad.

Johnathan R
Johnathan R
11 days ago
Reply to  GeneD

She’s not coming back. Keep dreaming.

Noneya
Noneya
12 days ago

Finally justice from the criminal woke