Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Montrose DA bound over for trial on sex charges - The Denver Post

Montrose DA bound over for trial on sex charges - The Denver Post

Former Montrose District Attorney Myrl Serra will stand trial in July on allegations of sexual misconduct involving three women who worked for him.

After a morning hearing, Chief Mesa District Judge David Bottger ruled that there was "certainly reasonable evidence" to bind Serra over for trial in spite of defense attorneys' attempts to show that one of his alleged victims had tried to initiate an affair with Serra and that she had changed her story over a six-month period.

That witness denied those allegations and testified during the preliminary hearing Friday that in April Serra called her into his office, unzipped his pants, then grabbed her hand and forced her to touch his genitals. She testified that she backed out of the office with her eyes closed and immediately told a female coworker what had happened. She also took pictures of her reddened wrist with her cell phone.

The witness nervously rocked back and forth during her testimony as defense attorney Colin Bresee asked her detailed questions about the encounter. He hammered on the discrepancy between what she initially told her coworkers — that Serra had tried to get her to touch his genitals, versus a later account she gave to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in which she said he actually forced her.

Bresee also asked if she had tried to initiate a sexual encounter with her boss and noted that she had texted him 63 times about letting the office staff leave early on that day. She denied wanting to have an affair with Serra.

Serra faces seven counts, including felony and misdemeanor unlawful sexual conduct, indecent exposure, criminal extortion and official misconduct related to allegations from the three female employees in the DA's office.

Only the one count of unlawful sexual misconduct involving physical force was addressed in the preliminary hearing Friday because that was the only one of the charges eligible under Colorado law for such a hearing.

Serra's other two alleged victims had similar complaints. They allege Serra held out the threat of losing their jobs if they did not comply with his wishes for sexual favors.

Serra, who appeared relaxed, and smiled and laughed with his attorneys during parts of the hearing Friday, was arrested Sep. 30. He was ordered to stay away from his alleged victims and his former offices in the 7th Judicial District that includes Montrose, Delta, Gunnison and San Miguel counties. Serra resigned in January after a state representative from Montrose threatened to have him impeached.

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