Colorado DA Charged With Sex Offenses

Documents were unsealed today in the felony sex case against Colorado District Attorney Myrl Serra. Serra is the elected DA for the 7th District, which includes Telluride, Montrose, Delta, and Gunnison. Serra was arrested September 30, but few factual details were released, other than it was sex related and may be related to an affair gone bad. First, the charges:

Serra, 48, is charged with felony unlawful sexual contact, felony criminal extortion and five misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure and unlawful sexual contact. He has denied the allegations.

The documents released today allege Serra harassed three women employees in his office, exposing himself, demanding sexual favors, and threatening their job positions if they didn't go along. [More...]

The investigation began when a male investigator in Serra's office contacted the Colorado Bureau of Investigation after he witnessed Serra send an overtly sexual text message. While the CBI was investigating, other women came forward.

DNA evidence was collected, including semen on desks, and Serra's lawyer says it's a case of "he said/she said." Perhaps he'll concede some sexual relationships but contend the allegations are revenge driven following a break-up.

At least two women have sought restraining orders against Serra in the past, but judges rejected their requests.

Two women on three occasions have tried unsuccessfully to secure restraining orders against Serra, 48. Three judges and magistrates in Montrose denied those protection orders, ruling there was not enough evidence of danger to the women or to the young child of one of them.

The judge who refused the orders from one past girlfriend said she didn't meet the statutory requirements:

In 2008, after seven years of breakups and reconciliations, McCauley asked for a restraining order against Serra. She said it was because he refused to stop contacting her and sending presents to her and her daughter. Magistrate Jane Westbrook denied that request because there was no threat or act of physical harm to McCauley or her daughter and the contacts did not "satisfy the statutory requirement."

Temporary Restraining orders are granted ex parte. They aren't difficult to get. Physical threats and injury aren't required in stalking cases. Here's the current statute.

Did judges misapply the statute? Did they require a greater amount of evidence because the subject of the order was the DA? Hopefully there is more to the story because that would be a double standard, one for law enforcement and one for the public?

Serra is entitled to the presumption of innocence on the criminal charges, and he will receive it here, but the explanation for the denial of the civil retraining orders is troubling. All that needs to be shown is unwanted contacts or communications that cause serious emotional distress.

Of course, once charged, a restraining order was entered against Serra, "not to go near any of the district attorney's offices in Montrose, Delta, Telluride and Gunnison."

The office is currently being run by the Colorado Attorney General's office.

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    Nice mug shot. (none / 0) (#1)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 12:12:27 AM EST
    Interesting that the fact he is a Republican is left out of so many articles.  

    I certainly think the restraining orders should have been granted--especially given his official capacity.  But, life is a little different in Montrose.  

    Ya, and a gvt employee. (none / 0) (#2)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 12:48:32 AM EST
    Who is it you work for again?

    be even more interesting (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 02:43:40 AM EST
    to see if judicial misconduct eventually gets added to the fray. at minimum, i should hope the judges involved recuse themselves from further involvement in the case.

    Defense lawyers (none / 0) (#4)
    by diogenes on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 11:49:30 AM EST
    Since this blog is devoted to protecting the rights of defendants what really should be publicized is when "Defense attorney convicted of sex offenses". Misconduct and incompentence by defense attorneys is much worse for those accused of crimes.