EAST LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Authorities accuse two men of abusing and assaulting nearly a dozen teens at a boot camp they operate in East Los Angeles.
Police say 21-year-old Ruben Romero and 36-year-old Edgar Alvarado allegedly kicked and beat boys and girls at the “Recon 180º” boot camp.
Sheriff’s deputies say that 11 victims have come forward and they believe there are many more.
Parents routinely send their kids to the boot camp — to learn military-style obedience — if they have been acting up. The camp has been in operation since Jan. 3, 2009. From their website, “180° Recon’s Boot Camp Program is designed for Troubled Teenagers to Instill Self Discipline, Respect, Morals, and Responsibility through a Paramilitary Structured Setting.”
In a video posted on their Facebook page, it shows teenage boys marching while being ordered around by a drill sergeant.
“This is a very serious issue and this is the kind of camp that needs to be stopped,” says Dan Scott of the LA Sheriff’s department.
The investigation into the camp began a year ago when one teen allegedly went to the hospital with serious internal injuries.
During the investigation, deputies say 9 boys and two girls — ranging in age between 12 to 17 — came forward saying they were also kicked, dragged and beaten while attending the boot camp.
On their Facebook page, the non-profit refers to themselves as ” a youth mentoring program.”
“Any assault on a child is serious but this definitely rose to the level of a felony,” Scott said of the hospitalized camper.
Deputies say one of the victims also accused Alvarado of sexual battery.
CBS2’s Brittney Hopper tried to get a statement from the boot camp but they said “no comment.”
Scott said if you believe your child was a victim, you’re asked to call the LA County Sheriff’s dept.