Q&A: Jeffco DA Scott Storey reflects on journey

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Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey will step down at the end of the year.

After being elected in 2004, the Colorado native is term limited.

Storey spoke to Colorado Community Media recently, to talk about his career as he steps aside to let the newly-elected Pete Weir take the wheel.

What follows is a slightly condensed version of that interview.

CCM: When you first went to law school, it was to help out the family business, which was building.

But then you clearly became focused on criminal prosecution. How did that change happen?

Storey: “I thought geeze, I went to law school for five years, to do just business law?

I wanted to take six months to a year, and get trial work out of my system.

That was agreeable to everybody in the family, so I went down to the El Paso DA’s office.

After six months I was in district court with a felony docket.

My first felony jury trial was a girl. She had a difficult time — there wasn’t the kind of child of victim resources there are today — and was very reluctant to testify. Her dad was very sexually abusive to her for many years. But she testified.

I think the turning point for me was when she got up there and testified for hours. She came up to me afterwards and said, “Scott, I did it.” It transformed me. I never did go back to my business.

CCM: Did you get the conviction?

Storey: Yeah … she did. I stumbled along, but she’s the one that got the conviction.

CCM: You started working here in Jeffco DA’s office 23 years ago. What eventually led you to run for district attorney?

Storey: Dave Thomas was term limited. I think part of it was having management experience from the construction business.

I had a passion for the office, and felt like maybe I could do a better job than some of the candidates.

I’d never even run for student councils, so I didn’t know what I was doing.

I was very lucky to have very good mentors help me through.

CCM: What has it been like to hold the office of DA?

Storey: I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s been an incredible honor.

I never set out to be an elected official but I feel blessed every day. I love it.

I think I’ve been good at it. I’ve accomplished a lot. It’s bittersweet, because of term limits I can’t finish some of the things I’ve started.

CCM: What are some of the cases that you’re proud of?

Storey: The DeWild case (in trial) right now. That’s a cold case that we started a task force for.

Frankly, I made a promise to Heather DeWild’s family that she would have justice before I was done.

Then there was the victim Rose Moniak, a senior citizen who worked for the shuttles.

One of her customers … dragged her around the corner and just kicked her. She should have died.

I personally prosecuted that because I was outraged.

CCM: Programs you’re proud of?

Storey: The Power Against Fraud program teaches people how to stay safe.

Coming from that, I started the Elder Abuse Unit.

We have now the only dedicated elder abuse unit in Colorado.

I decided to start another specialized unit, Child Sex Offender Internet Investigations. We nicknamed it Cheezo, and that’s the name of the mascot. We’ve probably arrested upwards of 600 predators.

But the bigger effort of that is our prevention program. We go out to schools and talk about internet safety and cell phone safety.

CCM: What will you do now?

Storey: Pete has asked me to stay on, to supervise some of the programs I’ve started.

I will not be a policy maker though. He’s better qualified than I am anyway. I hope to try some cases … if I remember how.

And no, I’m never going to run for anything else.

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