Woman sought restraining order against Colo. prosecutor accused of unlawful sexual contact

Friday, October 1, 2010

Woman sought restraining order for Colo prosecutor

MONTROSE, Colo. — A 40-year-old woman requested two restraining orders against a western Colorado district attorney suspected of unlawful sexual contact but was denied.

The woman filed the requests in Montrose County against Myrl Serra in 2008 and again on Sept. 20.

Serra, the top prosecutor in the 7th Judicial District based in Montrose, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of unlawful sexual contact, indecent exposure and official misconduct. He was released on bond and is due in court Nov. 3.

The woman told The Denver Post said she spoke with a prosecutor on Thursday. She didn’t immediately return a message left by The Associated Press.

It is not clear if the restraining orders are related to the charges against Serra. The AP does not typically name people who say they are victims of a sexual crime.

A telephone message for Serra’s lawyer, Stephen Schweissing of Grand Junction, was not returned.

Details of the case have been sealed. All judges in Serra’s district have recused themselves and the case has been assigned to District Judge Daniel Bottger in Grand Junction, 50 miles north of Montrose.

As district attorney, Serra oversees felony and misdemeanor prosecutions in the sprawling 8,300-square mile state judicial district that covers the counties of Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose and Ouray. He was appointed in 2007, taking over for Tom Raynes who stepped down to take a job in the attorney general’s office.

Serra ran for election unopposed in 2008.

“He was a good prosecutor for me,” Raynes, Serra’s former boss, said Friday. “Four years ago was the last time he worked for me. I trust the judicial system in the 7th district.”

Serra’s arrest and charges caught the law enforcement community in the district by surprise.

“We had no idea this was in the wind,” Hinsdale County Sheriff Ron Bruce told the Montrose Daily Press.

With Gov. Bill Ritter on an economic mission to Denmark and Finland, Colorado Lt. Gov. Gail O’Brien signed the executive order allowing the attorney general’s office take control of a district attorney’s office.

The last such move happened in May, when 22nd Judicial District Attorney Jim Wilson died in a motorcycle accident.

O’Brien also appointed the attorney general’s office as special prosecutor in the case against Serra.

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