Printed letters, Jan. 29, 2012

As district attorneys, and in accordance with our ethical guidelines, we withheld comment on the charges against Myrl Serra, former District Attorney in the Seventh Judicial District, during the pendency of the proceedings. Since Serra has been convicted and sentenced, it is necessary for us to openly address his conduct.

As president of the Colorado District Attorney’s Council, I am speaking for all the elected prosecutors in our organization in writing this letter. There are four points we would like to make:

First, we express our sincere apologies and sympathy to the victims in this case and all those who were affected by Serra’s illegal and destructive actions. The scars left by such actions are often life-long. We also recognize the lasting harm caused by these crimes to the community and to the outstanding staff of the District Attorney’s office in the Seventh Judicial District.

Second, as the state’s prosecutors, we are held to a higher standard — as we should be. We are committed to the law and the ethical rules that govern our profession. When one of us violates the law, we will not hesitate to openly and publicly take a position expressing our abhorrence of the activities that have brought disrepute to our profession.

Serra’s acts have not only created great harm to the victims and his community, but have tarnished the reputation of prosecutors who are committed to the highest ethical standards in the legal profession. There is no excuse for his actions.

Third, we thank the Colorado Attorney General’s office for its very able handling of this case. Hopefully, the court’s decision will serve its intended purpose. We trust that as a result of his conviction and sentence, Serra will never again be in a position to take advantage of others by virtue of his power or authority, or in any other context.

Finally, as district attorneys, we are vigorously opposed to any sexual harassment in the workplace, no matter who may be involved. We all have strict office policies against sexual harassment, which are taught and emphasized in every DA’s office. Thus, it pains us deeply when one of our own violates the very policies and laws we so vigorously uphold.

We hope and pray those who were victimized will continue to heal. Again, we apologize as a profession for all who suffered because of the actions of former District Attorney Myrl Serra.

LARRY R. ABRAHAMSON

President

Colorado District Attorney’s Council

Denver

DA pledges to restore office Serra damaged

It is the duty of the district attorney to hold offenders accountable for criminal conduct and seek justice for victims of crime. It is impossible for this to happen without courageous people who are willing to report criminal conduct and are willing to speak their truth in the face of public skepticism, uncertainty and attacks on their credibility and reputations.

Often these victims are required to speak publicly about private and personal matters. This Office of the District Attorney for the Seventh Judicial District works to support victims and expects only two things from victims and witnesses: honesty and courage.

The criminal and abhorrent behavior by former District Attorney Myrl Serra would not have been discovered without the honesty and courage of four employees of this office. These individuals reported Serra’s crimes despite fears of being fired, disbelieved, ridiculed and damaged professionally. These four people are true heroes.

These four individuals deserve an apology from the man who bullied, harassed, stalked, assaulted them and subjected them to criminal extortion. Recent events and statements in court make it evident that no such apology will be made.

This district attorney, on behalf of the Office of the District Attorney, apologizes to each of these four individuals for the harm they have suffered and endured as employees of an office in which both personal and professional conduct is rightly expected to be of the highest standards.

This district attorney, with the assistance of these four courageous individuals and the rest of an outstanding staff, will continue to work hard to repair the extensive damage caused by Serra’s criminal conduct and gross dereliction of duty. We will restore the effectiveness of this office in achieving justice for the honest and courageous victims of crime in the Seventh Judicial District who rely on us.

DAN HOTSENPILLER

District Attorney

Seventh Judicial District

Montrose

 

Serving in combat changes a young person

Regarding Don McBee’s letter “Don’t judge marines by civilian standards” in the letters section on Jan. 24: I have tried for several days to write a letter with the hope I could make the average person, never charged with protecting our freedom, understand the transition a young person goes through in a combat zone.

Don McBee has done that in a way even the laymen should be able to understand. Mr. McBee, I thank you and I salute you, sir.

GEORGE BUTCHER

Delta



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