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Ex-child welfare caseworker sentenced to probation

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By Deborah Swearingen

A former Jefferson County Human Services caseworker will serve two years of probation and 96 hours of community service for falsifying information in 12 child abuse and neglect complaints.

Richelle Schultz, 53, was indicted by a Jeffco grand jury in September on 22 counts of attempt to influence a public servant and forgery. According to the indictment, she was accused of committing the crimes between April 30, 2016 and June 30, 2016, while she was working as a child welfare caseworker with the county. Schultz pleaded guilty in January to two felony counts of attempt to influence a public servant and forgery. The other 20 counts were dismissed.

In 12 cases, the defendant reported interviewing a victim, family and witnesses when she hadn’t. She was assigned to investigate cases of child abuse and neglect and report her findings in the Colorado’s Trails database, which is used to track cases and often is a determinant for whether further investigation and follow-up will be conducted.

Schultz stopped working for Jeffco Human Services in July 2016. Upon her departure, the department investigated the 12 cases in which Schultz was accused of entering false information and confirmed that there were no unresolved safety issues.

Although the prosecution requested a jail sentence, the court chose not to impose one because the defendant pleaded guilty. Her lack of prior criminal history, decision to accept responsibility and fact that she didn’t commit the crimes for personal gain also played a role in this decision, according to Pam Russell, spokeswoman with the Jeffco DA’s office.

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