Accused Montrose DA Serra to resign

EXTRAS


Seventh Judicial District Attorney Myrl Serra, who leaving a court hearing this past fall, has a Feb. 12 preliminary hearing on charges that include unlawful sexual contact with and criminal extortion of female employees.



MONTROSE — Embattled 7th Judicial District Attorney Myrl Serra officially resigned in a letter addressed to Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper on the 12-year anniversary of his employment with the prosecutor’s office.

Serra has been district attorney since late 2006.

In the letter, dated Jan. 4, Serra stated that although he had been encouraged to remain in office by “many residents,” he will resign effective Jan. 11, a day after interim DA and Montrose attorney Dan Hostenpiller is set to take over.

Serra, 48, was arrested by the CBI on Sept. 30, 2010, and faces charges of felony unlawful sexual contact with the use of force, criminal extortion, misdemeanor unlawful sexual contact, indecent exposure and official misconduct.

Serra has been accused of exposing himself to three women in his office on three separate occasions and of subjecting some of them to sexual contact in a three-year pattern of misconduct,  according to charging documents filed by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

Serra’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 11 in Montrose.

Serra wrote that his decision to resign would save the taxpayers of the 7th Judicial District the expense of his salary plus the salary of interim DA Hostenpiller. Serra was placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of his trial.

“By resigning now, I am clearing the way for you as the Chief Executive Officer of the State of Colorado, the proper statutory authority, to select the District Attorney for the Seventh — whomsoever that may be — until the next general election in 2012,” Serra wrote to Hickenlooper.

Serra has not publicly spoken about the incidents since his arrest, but he has continued to deny the charges through his Denver-based attorney, Colin Bresee.

In a letter dated Jan. 5, Bresee said his client “trusts the citizens of the 7th Judicial District will not prejudge him in this matter and they will afford him the presumption of innocence that all citizens are due.”

Court records detail a confrontation between Serra and an unidentified female in a Montrose department store in early December, which triggered a second arrest and fresh allegations of harassment that left the woman “fearful.”

Serra was arrested on suspicion of harassment, violating a protection order and violating the terms of his bond. No formal charges have been brought against Serra resulting from the December incident.


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