JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A female Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy took part in fondling and frequent “phone sex” with an inmate and “felt like she got in ‘deep water’ with the relationship,” according to new information from an arrest warrant affidavit in the case. Earlier this month, authorities charged former Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Myriah Lovato, 29, with multiple felonies and misdemeanors including introducing contraband, sexual conduct in a correctional institution and official misconduct.

Myriah Lovato (credit: CBS)

However, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader revealed few details of what Lovato allegedly did aside from saying she had an “inappropriate relationship” with an inmate.

But the newly obtained affidavit reveals key details about the relationship and what led to the criminal charges. Lovato, who was on the jail’s gang intelligence unit, struck up a relationship last fall with Justice Espinoza, 34, a known gang member who was in the jail on a kidnapping count and other charges. She told investigators the relationship began when she sought advice from Espinoza on how to quell gang issues between female inmates.

The Jefferson County Detention Facility (credit: CBS)

Lovato told investigators Espinoza began “sweet talking” her and sharing some food items with the deputy. She said she initially resisted his advances. She said it was “awkward at first” but after two weeks or so felt “normal.” The deputy told investigators she “actively participated in the relationship because she was not getting intimate attention or compliments at home.” He would tell her “She’s a perfect person and she’s “forever.”

Lovato told investigators she “felt like she got in ‘deep water’” with the relationship, but reiterated that she “is not a victim” and was a willing participant.

“He could come after me and my family,” Lovato told investigators in the case. ”As much as I wasn’t innocent I was a little scared, too.”

Justice Espinoza (credit: CBS)

According to investigators piecing the story together, Lovato and Espinoza hatched a plan so she could obtain a “burner phone,” so Espinoza could call her but camouflage who he was calling.

Investigators discovered the two talked by phone 188 times, totaling more than 2,000 minutes over five weeks between November and December, engaging repeatedly in “phone sex.”

Authorities listened to numerous taped calls between the two, hearing the pair explicitly discuss what sexual acts they would do to each other once he got out of jail.

Myriah Lovato (credit: Jefferson County)

Both the inmate and deputy admitted during interviews that they had engaged in kissing in the jail and minor fondling, but both insisted they hadn’t done anything else. Espinoza told investigators “there were no sex acts because (Lovato) was ‘too scared.’ There are always deputies or inmates around.”

During one taped call, investigators say Espinoza asked Lovato what she is getting from the relationship.

“I get you,” she said.

She told Espinoza they were in a “super unique situation” and she said there was “no going back” as she was “risking a lot” for Espinoza.

The two also joked about Lovato going to “gang school.”

According to the affidavit, in December, Lovato delivered contraband to Espinoza. Lovato said she did deliver it but did not know what was in it and “was afraid to open it because she was scared of what the content could be and because she was told not to open it.”

Myriah Lovato (credit: CBS)

An investigator asked her if she considered the possibility she smuggled drugs into the jail.

During the investigation, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said Lovato submitted her resignation. After being arrested, Lovato posted $50,000 bond and was released from jail. She has not responded to inquiries from CBS4.

Her attorney, Martha Eskesen, said she could not provide any comment on the case.

At one point, Espinoza told investigators Lovato had painted her nails purple and bought a pair of purple Adidas shoes. Purple is a color favored by the gang Espinoza has been associated with.

Brian Maass

Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s