Thursday, June 4, 2015

California Boot Camp for at-Risk Kids apparently abused some kids

A weeklong boot camp run by Los Angeles-area police departments that was meant to turn around misbehaving youth left seven of the kids with injuries consistent with abuse, investigators said.

Those seven were among 39 children who attended the boot camp from May 17 to 24, and all were being interviewed along with the drill instructors, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday

Sheriff's spokesman Tony Cipolla declined to describe the injuries and said no charges have been filed.
The agency has never gotten a complaint about the 17-year-old camp before, Cipolla said.

Greg Owen, an attorney representing the parents of the children who had injuries, said most of them had cuts and bruises after being beaten bloody at times, and that one boy had a fractured hand. He said the lasting injuries will be emotional.[...]

"Talking to the parents today, their kids can't sleep through the night, they don't want to go out of the house," he said. "That will never go away." [...]

The LEAD program began in 1998 as an intervention for troubled youths from Southern California. Participants can range from kids who've joined gangs or use drugs to children with bad grades or attitude problems.

Veronica Bernal said her 16-year-old son came back from the boot camp in tears with an untreated fractured hand.

"They put him in a dark room, and they would beat him," she said.

Aracely Pulido said her 14-year-old daughter came back with bruises covering her arms, and said that drill instructors had slapped and kicked her, and stomped on her back. "She's traumatized," Pulido said.

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