Investigator accused of falsifying records, lying about checking on possible abuse victims

By Sarah Blazonis, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, March 08, 2018, 6:28 PM EST

Former Child Protection Investigator Steven Urban, 29, was arrested Thursday for allegedly falsifying documents.

  • 75 of 142 cases Urban worked in 2017 contained false information
  • Cases Urban worked pre-2017 will also be reviewed
  • Urban faces 10 counts of felony falsifying records

"The falsifications range from flat-out lies to misleading information, and included statements that investigations had been conducted when no investigation had been conducted at all," Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said during a news conference.

Gualtieri said the alleged fabrications came to light back in January. Another CPI was assigned to investigate a case that involved determining if a child was in danger because of a domestic violence situation.

When the investigator learned Urban had been assigned to a case involving the same household in November, she reviewed the case file. The sheriff said she tried to follow up with people Urban had documented interviews with, but when she got in touch with them, they said not only had they not been interviewed, but they knew nothing about the case.

"In fact, the grandmother who Urban wrote in a report that he interviewed in November of 2017, she had died three years earlier," Gualtieri said.

An internal review found that of the 142 cases Urban was assigned between Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 17, 2018, 75 of those contained false information -- more than half his case load.

"Urban entered false case notes in the case management system, he entered a false child present danger assessment, and false sworn statements," Gualtieri said.

Sometimes no field work at all

Gualtieri said in 44 of the cases, Urban reported that he'd personally checked on the well-being of alleged abuse victims and found they were fine when he actually never saw the children.

In 29 of the cases, Gualtieri said Urban did no field work at all.

"Not only did he not see the kids, but he never lifted a finger other than to sit at his desk or sit at home on the couch or wherever he made up these stories and made up all these files and made up all these witnesses for interviews," he said.

According to Gualtieri, 72 of Urban's cases required follow-ups. In two of those situations, children were removed from their homes because investigators determined there was present danger of risk to them.

In one case, a mother was leaving her four-year-old and ten-year-old unsupervised. The second situation involved parents not providing proper medical care for three children between the ages of seven and ten years old.

Some of the investigations Urban didn't look into at all included allegations that a mother was using opiates around her child while her roommate sold drugs from the home, and a separate case in which a nine-year-old was allegedly being physically abused. These children were not removed from the home on follow-up because it was determined they weren't at risk.

New checks put in place

Gualtieri said Urban resigned in January when he found out about the internal investigation and has been uncooperative, refusing to answer questions.

The sheriff said there are checks in place to prevent something like this from happening. A supervisor is briefed on every case.

"Urban's been around for six years. He knew what to do and how to do it, and he just flat-out made it up and lied," Gualtieri said, noting the supervisors had done their jobs. "When you have someone who is a liar, a cheater, a scammer, and is manipulating the system, it's very difficult to detect it."

A new process has been put in place to stop something like this from happening again. Gualtieri said a supervisor will now pull five cases from CPIs every week and contact the people investigators documented as having been interviewed.

"It's a sad day when it comes to that, but when it comes to ensuring child welfare and that the kids are safe, you have to do absolutely everything possible," Gualtieri said.

He also noted Urban's cases pre-dating 2017 will also be reviewed.

Urban faces ten felony charges of falsifying records.