Montrose DA Charged With Sex Crimes, Official Misconduct

State Attorney General Appointed To Conduct Special Prosecution Of Myrl Serra

Montrose County District Attorney Myrl Serra was arrested Thursday on charges of unlawful sexual contact with force or threats, indecent exposure, and official misconduct, according to special state prosecutors.

Serra was arrested by Colorado Bureau of Investigation agents before 8:30 a.m. Thursday, said Mike Saccone, spokesman for the Colorado Attorney General's Office. Serra was released from jail on $5,000 bond.

Because a sitting district attorney cannot be investigated by his own office, the Attorney General's Office was appointed by Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien to oversee the special prosecution. O'Brien is acting as governor while Gov. Bill Ritter is on an economic development mission to Finland and Denmark.

Suthers assigned First Assistant Attorney General Robert Shapiro to oversee the Serra investigation.

There were few details on the accusations against Serra because his arrest affidavit has been sealed, Attorney General John Suthers said in a news release.

Accusations of possible criminal conduct by Serra were first learned by Montrose County Sheriff Rick Dunlap on Sept. 17, according to an executive order issued by O'Brien appointing the special state prosecutors.

Because of the close working relationship between the sheriff's office and Serra's District Attorney's Office, the sheriff referred the case to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the order said.

The CBI investigation unearthed additional allegations of criminal conduct by Serra, including accusations of official misconduct, the order said. On Monday, the governor authorized CBI to investigate the new accusations of possible criminal conduct.

In a second executive order, O'Brien authorized the attorney general to take over operation of the district attorney's office, which oversees Montrose, Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, San Miguel and Ouray counties, to ensure its "continued functioning."

Suthers assigned First Assistant Attorney General Jean Woodford to run the district attorney's office and she was in Montrose Thursday, Saccone said. The attorney general can appoint deputy district attorneys to assist with the agency's operations.

Serra's first court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 3 in Mesa County District Court, Saccone said. The court hearing was shifted to Mesa County after judges for 7th Judicial District disqualified themselves from the case, because of their close working relationship with Serra.