Serra accuser testifies in trial
MONTROSE — Not long after 7th Judicial District Attorney Myrl Serra was arrested in connection with sexual misconduct charges, he silently confronted his accuser in a local department store, stared at her and smirked in an apparent effort to intimidate her, the woman testified.
The woman, who was in the store with her family, including a son who is to testify, said he stared at her over a clothing rack before he “gave me the smirk,” a facial expression that she associated with his asserting his superiority during times that they worked in the same office, she said.
The woman, who was listed along with two other women who worked in the prosecutor’s office as people with whom Serra was to have no contact because of the sexual-misconduct allegations, is to be cross examined today in Montrose County District Court. She was the first witness in the case, in which the Colorado Attorney General’s Office alleges harassment, a class three misdemeanor; violation of bond conditions, a class six felony; and violation of a protection order, a class one misdemeanor.
In a separate case, Serra faces several other charges in connection with allegations of misconduct in his office, including felony and misdemeanor unlawful sexual contact, three counts of indecent exposure and official misconduct.
Serra resigned after he was charged.
On Dec. 5, 2010, barely a month after the sexual-misconduct charges were filed, the woman testified, she was leaving Bealls department store, 2201 S. Townsend Ave., when she saw Serra walking toward the glass door she was planning to use.
She returned inside and found a clothes rack, hunched down behind it and hoped Serra wouldn’t notice her, the woman testified.
Instead, she saw Serra walk up to the opposite side of the clothes rack and fix her with a stare, the woman said.
He was moving the clothing around on the rack, but not looking at them, she testified, “Mr. Serra was not taking his eyes off me.”
After 10 to 15 seconds, “one corner of his mouth went up” in what she described as his smirk and Serra walked off.
The woman said she had seen a similar expression during their time working together, such as when Serra, who hired her to work in the office, rejected her requests for more authority by responding, “He said that was his job and smirked.”
In the department-store confrontation, “I felt he was telling me that he was going to get away with it, that I couldn’t control things,” the woman testified.
The woman’s son also is scheduled to testify during the three-day trial, and Serra’s defense raised questions with jurors about the credibility of a child, as well as the fact that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation only interviewed him about the Dec. 5 incident in the last six to eight weeks.
The trial also is to include a videotape from the store showing Serra’s entry and the woman’s departure. There was no camera trained on the area of the alleged confrontation, however.