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JCHS says alleged forgery had little impact

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By Deborah Swearingen

Jefferson County Human Services says the alleged forgery by its former employee had no negative implications for the children and families it serves.

Richelle Schultz, 53, was indicted in September on 22 felony counts of attempt to influence a public servant and forgery and is accused of falsifying information in 12 child abuse and neglect complaints. According to the Jefferson County grand jury, Schultz is accused of committing the alleged crimes between April 30, 2016 and June 30, 2016, while working as a child welfare casework with the county.

“Our first priority is to ensure the safety of any child or children,” said Mary Berg, deputy director of Jefferson County Human Services.

Berg also oversees the department’s children, youth, families and adult protection division.

As part of Schultz’s training, she was instructed to conduct in-person interviews with the alleged child victim, family members and other witnesses, according to the 14-page grand jury indictment. The content of each was supposed to be recorded in the Colorado’s Trails computer event recording system, and Schultz was supposed to meet with her immediate supervisor to review the investigation before deeming a case closed or in need of additional investigation.

Schult was employed with Jeffco Human Services from December 2015 to July 2016.

After leaving the job, a more thorough review was conducted, and it was determined that Schultz had been putting false information into the system.

“A follow-up was conducted on all of the cases Richelle Schultz was involved in, and it was discovered that in 12 of her cases she reported that she had in-person and/or phone contact with the victim and/or family members when, in fact, she did not have such contact,” the indictment says.

Berg credits this review to the department’s “robust supervision model,” which includes quality assurance and supervisory review at various points throughout an employee’s process. Through this supervision, Jeffco Human Services discovered concerns with some of Schultz’s cases and brought these concerns forward to the Jeffco DA’s office for investigation.

Schultz turned herself in Sept. 15 after being indicted two weeks prior. She will return to court for an Oct. 16 arraignment.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.