A midvalley woman already charged with a misdemeanor count of making a false report to police now faces a felony count of perjury after she allegedly told a judge that a Basalt police officer pointed a gun at her.
Maria Magdalena Rivas, 38, of Basalt, was advised Thursday in Pitkin County District Court of the felony charge and a new misdemeanor count of making a false report to police.
Agent Brooks Bennett of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation looked into Rivas’ allegations against Basalt police Sgt. Stu Curry, who is currently co-acting chief. Curry strenuously denies all her allegations.
Bennett’s interviews of those who know Rivas brought up allegations that she wanted to hire someone to kill Curry because he had played a role in having her kids removed from her custody following a child-abuse investigation in July. Curry and Rivas’ relationship also included a drug bust in which Rivas pointed out a man who was found with cocaine on his person.
The child-abuse investigation began after a Colorado Department of Human Services caseworker contacted Curry. The early July case involved Rivas’ 15-year-old son, who allegedly told police that he had burned his two younger siblings with an iron. Charges were not pursued because Curry believed “there is a possibility Rivas might also have some responsibility,” Bennett wrote in the warrant in support of the perjury charge.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin told Bennett that his office chose not to prosecute because there was some question as to whether the older sibling inflicted the injuries. The children were taken into protective custody.
When Rivas on July 25 told police that her ex-husband had sexually assaulted her, another officer responded. That officer told Curry that details provided by Rivas didn’t match what the officer saw at the scene of the residence in the 23000 block of Two Rivers Road. The officer told Curry he didn’t believe Rivas’ account.
The next day Rivas went to the police station, where Curry interviewed her, according to the warrant.
“At the end of the interview, Sgt. Curry told Rivas he understood she was worried that [the state] might now have ... [her] daughter and her youngest son (something Rivas has fought against) but falsely accusing [her ex-husband] of raping her was wrong,” the warrant says. “Rivas continued to repeat ‘it happened’ but Sgt. Curry told her he was going to charge her with making a false police report.”
Curry then apparently told Rivas that her former spouse was in Eagle at the time the alleged assault took place.
In late August, Rivas filed for a protection order against Curry. In the application, which is a court-sworn declaration made under the potential penalty of perjury, and in a hearing before Judge Gail Nichols of Pitkin County District Court, she alleged that Curry followed her on July 22 and Aug. 9.
Rivas also alleged that on July 26, the same day as the interview at the Basalt Police Department, “Curry followed [her] home and demanded information regarding the child abuse report previously discussed,” Bennett wrote. “During this contact, Rivas states Sgt. Curry placed his weapon to her head.”
After learning about the allegations, Curry prepared a document listing his whereabouts and his activities on the dates in question.
In an interview with Bennett, Curry “emphatically stated that everything Rivas is alleging is a complete fabrication and believes her motive is to get back at him for ‘having a hand in her children being taken away,’” the warrant says.
Curry said that on July 22, he and his then-fiancee left the valley around noon to have dinner with friends in Grand Junction and didn’t return until midnight. Other Basalt police officers and a Snowmass Village officer corroborated this, saying they were with Curry in Grand Junction for a bachelor’s party, Bennett wrote.
Regarding July 26, Curry told the CBI agent that he worked until 7 or 8 p.m. and then went home, watched a movie and did not leave his house again that night.
Curry “denied having any contact with Rivas after she was issued the summons on July 26 ... or ‘pulling a gun on her’ at any time,” the warrant says.
As for Aug. 9, Curry said he didn’t work that day, which he spent cleaning his house ahead of a visit from his mother.
Bennett also interviewed Rivas’ roommate. This person, whose name is redacted in the warrant, said that Rivas tried to enlist her in an effort to frame Curry, the warrant says.
The roommate “explained that Rivas told her to say that she was ‘walking by and saw a cop pointing a gun to [Rivas’] head,” Bennett wrote. “When [the roommate] refused to help Rivas, Rivas told her she was a ‘very bad friend.’”
A few days later, Rivas allegedly told the roommate that the only way Rivas could “get papers” was for the roommate to help her get Curry in trouble. Mordkin in court Thursday said that Rivas has a pending immigration case in Denver.
Rivas, a house cleaner, eventually stated that she “wished she could hire some killer so they could kill that cop,” the warrant says, citing the roommate.
Curry also interviewed the roommate about an incident on Aug. 22. The roommate allegedly said that Rivas had intentionally left her front door cracked open in the hope that Curry would respond “so she could either do something to get him in trouble with his department or hurt him physically,” the warrant says. “According to [the roommate] Rivas ... stated that if needed, she would physically defend herself against Sgt. Curry by using a ‘hair stick’ that had a sharp point on it.”
Two other officers cleared the residence, found no signs of forced entry and eventually charged Rivas with a second false-reporting count, stemming from her saying that she had locked the door and its deadbolt.
In his interview with Bennett, Curry said he has known Rivas since the 2000s, when he worked for the Snowmass Village Police Department.
She “cleaned the locker room at the ski area where he worked security when off-duty,” Bennett wrote.
They became friendly because Curry speaks Spanish. When he was hired in Basalt, “Rivas would occasionally provide information to Sgt. Curry, and on one occasion Sgt. Curry and an Eagle County deputy discovered cocaine on a male subject whom Rivas had said was in possession of cocaine.”
On Thursday, Mordkin told Chief Judge James Boyd of the 9th Judicial District that Rivas faces serious charges, noting that she “attempted to persuade a witness to lure officer Curry to her residence, where she might have caused him harm.”
Mordkin said the $6,000 bond amount laid out in the warrant was appropriate.
Boyd agreed and set Rivas’ next court date for Monday.
Rivas was mostly emotionless during the proceedings, saying the dates in the warrant were incorrect and asking about her bond amount.