Boot camp operators acused of abuse, assault on teens

Facebook page for the "One Eighty Recon" boot camp, which is under investigation for assault
Facebook via BS Los Angeles
(CBS) EAST LOS ANGELES - Authorities accuse two men of abusing and assaulting nearly a dozen teens at a boot camp they operate, CBS Los Angeles reported.

Authorities believe there are many more victims at the "Recon 180" boot camp in East Los Angeles run by 21-year-old Ruben Romero and 36-year-old Edgar Alvarado.

They say 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 from 12 to 17 - came forward saying they were also kicked, dragged and beaten while attending the boot camp.

"Any assault on a child is serious but this definitely rose to the level of a felony," said Dan Scott said of the L.A. SAheriff's Department.

Deputies say one of the victims also accused Alvarado of sexual battery.

"This is a very serious issue and this is the kind of camp that needs to be stopped," said Scott.

The camp has been in operation since Jan. 3, 2009. According to its 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 the camp's Facebook page, teenage boys are seen marching while being ordered around by a drill sergeant. The page identifies the camp as a non-profit, self-described as "a youth mentoring program."

CBS Los Angeles tried to get a statement from the boot camp but they said "no comment."