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."
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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