MONTROSE – Montrose District Attorney Myrl Serra knows that the accused are innocent until proven guilty. But recently released court documents paint a picture of Serra as a man with little respect for women, and who broke the law.
Serra was arrested on Sept. 30 to face charges of sexual contact with no consent, a class 4 felony; indecent exposure, a class 2 misdemeanor; and first-degree official misconduct, a class 2 misdemeanor.
The charges were upped on Nov. 3 when Serra appeared in Grand Junction before Judge David Bottger of the 21st Judicial District.
Serra now faces a total of seven charges. In addition to the first three charges, he now faces a class 4 felony extortion, two more misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure and misdemeanor official misconduct.
The charges resulted from an investigation by Colorado Bureau of Investigation agents, who originally went to the DA’s office in Delta to look into alleged inappropriate and sexual-based text messages from Serra to his ex-girlfriend, who has tried unsuccessfully several times to obtain restraining orders against Serra.
According to court documents, while the agents were at the Delta office, they were approached by an employee who told them Serra made a pass at her, which she rebuked, after an evening with other employees at a local bar.
But the woman told the agents that some other employees’ experiences with Serra had been much worse than hers, and through names that she provided, the agents uncovered evidence of Serra allegedly intimidating female employees to commit sex acts in his office.
Agents started calling possible witnesses, including a woman who began crying when told why she was being interviewed, Reese reported.
The woman then told agents about one day when she asked Serra if she could get off early. The woman said that Serra “asked her what she was willing to do to get off early,” and rebuffed her offers of donuts for the office, fruit or coffee. When she asked exactly what he wanted, according to court documents, Serra stood up, unzipped his pants and grabbed her hand and tried to force her to grab his penis so he could masturbate. She refused, got out of the office and reported it to another employee, who urged her to take photos of scratches on her wrist she said were caused by Serra.
Another employee also revealed she was similarly accosted by Serra, but after questioning revealed that she had complied with Serra’s wishes out of fear of losing her job, and that it had happened dozens of times. She reported that she had told Serra that what he was doing was wrong, but that he replied, “Oh you like it, that’s the kind of person you are.”
The woman said she complied because Serra was always threatening to fire people.
“I think he knew he had enough fear instilled in me that I wouldn’t say a word,” she said. She claimed Serra told her that she “liked it” because “that’s how women are.”
Another woman complained that Serra had “slapped her on the behind” according to court documents.
The court documents, which include arrest affidavits and a search warrant, make it difficult to determine just how many women were subjected to unwanted advances from Serra, because the names of all the victims are blacked out.
CBI agents searched Serra’s office in early October, gathering computer equipment and printed emails related to the investigation. They also used special lighting and chemicals to reveal four samples of semen in the carpet of Serra’s office, which they collected as evidence.
Serra is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on the case on Feb. 11 at 9 a.m., where he will go before Bottger at the Mesa County Justice Center.