JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — Former Jefferson County jail deputy Myriah Lovato pleaded guilty Monday to three of the 10 counts she was facing in connection with an inappropriate relationship she had with a jail inmate. In a brief court hearing Monday morning, Lovato pleaded guilty to one felony count of introducing contraband into the jail and two misdemeanor counts of official misconduct.

Myriah Lovato (credit: CBS)

Prosecutors agreed to drop seven other felony and misdemeanor counts in the plea bargain. Lovato will be sentenced Nov. 7.

She and her attorney declined to make any comment as they left the Jefferson County courtroom.

Myriah Lovato (credit: Jefferson County)

Queried by Judge Tamara Russell about what she did, Lovato admitted using a law enforcement database and sharing privileged information with an inmate. She also admitted bringing unauthorized items into the jail for inmate Justice Espinoza.

Justice Espinoza (credit: CBS)

Although she could face jail or prison time for her crimes, the prosecutor indicated he would not be asking that Lovato be incarcerated.

Lovato was in the jail’s gang intelligence unit and struck up a relationship in 2018 with Espinoza, a known gang member who was in jail on a kidnapping count and other charges.

She said the relationship with Espinoza began with “sweet talking” but she eventually felt like she got in “deep water”’ with the relationship.

Both Espinoza and Lovato admitted during interviews they had engaged in minor fondling and kissing inside the jail, but both said the physical relationship did not go any further.

Investigators also said the pair talked by phone repeatedly engaging in “phone sex.”

Lovato submitted her resignation in the midst of the investigation. She had served with the sheriff’s office since 2016.

CBS4 reporters Brian Maass and Kati Weis serve on the CBS4 Investigates team, uncovering fraud, waste, and corruption. Send them a news tip or follow them on Twitter @Briancbs4 and @KatiWeis.


Leave a Reply