California officers arrested for abusing kids at Camp SLO

August 6, 2015

Boot_Camp_(2001)_logoSan Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s detectives arrested four Southern California police officers who are accused of physically abusing a total of 15 teens at a boot camp held at Camp San Luis Obipso in May.

The arrests occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to a sheriff’s office news release. The teen victims are all from Southern California, and they range in age from 12 to17. Nine of the teens are male and six are female.

The news release did not provide details about the alleged abuse. But, an attorney representing most of the victims has stated the abuse included officers punching children in the head, stepping on their hands and backs during push-ups and beating them in a dark room.

“According to the teenagers, they were given towels to clean the blood off themselves prior to exiting the room after the beatings,” Southern Califonia attorney Gregory Owen said a statement released in June. “One child suffered broken fingers after an officer allegedly stood on the child’s hands.”

The Leadership Empowerment and Discipline (LEAD) Boot Camp took place May 17-24. It is an event conducted by the Huntington Park and South Gate police departments.

The boot camp began with one of the teens being placed in handcuffs for the entire 4.5 hour bus ride to Camp San Luis Obispo, Owen said at a press conference. Owen also alleges the children were threatened that they would be hurt if they told anyone what was done to them at the camp.

Two of the officers, known as the “Gomez brothers,” came within view of some of the teens while they were being interview by sheriff’s detectives after the boot camp. The Gomez brothers intimidated the children into not providing full accounts of what occurred, Owen stated.

Many of the teens were suffering from nightmares and trauma because the Gomez brothers were out on the streets, Owen stated in June. The children feared the officers would come after them, Owen said.

Most of the victims identified the Gomez brothers as the officers primarily responsible for the abuse, Owen said.

South Gate officers Carlos Manuel Gomez-Marquez, 31, and Edgar Yovany Gomez, 35, are two of the policemen charged in the case, according to the SLO County Sheriff’s Office. Gomez and Gomez-Marquez were arrested on felony charges of wilful cruelty to a child, criminal threats and criminal conspiracy, as well as on misdemeanor charges of criminal battery and abuse under color of authority.

Huntington Park officers Marissa Elizabeth Larios, 36, and Patrick Marvin Nijland, 47, are also charged with felony wilful cruelty to a child and misdemeanor criminal battery and abuse under color of authority. Larios additionally faces a felony criminal conspiracy charge.

Each of the officers posted bail before sheriff’s detectives served arrest warrants this week. The officers were released on $20,000 bonds.

The sheriff’s office began investigating the case on May 28. The investigation began after the sheriff’s office received a report of allegations from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

The bootcamp is part of a 20-week LEAD program that is marketed for at-risk youth, Owen sated. The program is designed to develop leadership and discipline, while offering guidance and support to reduce family conflict. It costs $400 per child.


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indigo1955

There are WAY too many sociopathic or pedophilic types working with children these days! I am so relieved these monsters will be punished. For those of you who blamed the children back when this story first broke—maybe you need to take a look within. Children rarely make this stuff up! Kids and teens….TELL AN ADULT that is in a position to help you if you are hurt or touched in a sexual way–especially if you are threatened so that you will not speak up—and keep telling until someone helps you.


SLO_Johnny

Someone actually paid these guys $400 to abuse and traumatize these kids.


joseywales

lol…..they were just serving and protecting…..


if those were my kids……my final words to the community would be those officers wont be serving and protecting no one no more……


Jorge Estrada

Boot Camp is just that, a boot where it is needed. If these youth continue without intervention, their abusers will not go to jail because they are already in jail. Give that option a thought.


SLO_Johnny

You can NOT teach children to be decent and law abiding citizens by subjecting them to illegal and indecent treatment. There is a huge difference between being tough and being cruel and these officers apparently crossed that line by a wide mark.


805code4

They were released on $20,000 bond BEFORE warrants were served?! For one thing, why is the bond so low for violent crimes against children, and why werent these people arrested and booked into County jail like everyone else? The average citizen does not get this kind of treatment or advantage! Cops turned criminals are Criminals and they should be dealt with fairly, meaning they should be treated no better than anyone else.


SLO_Johnny

Bail is not a a form of punishment. It is intended to assure that the defendant returns to court when required. The accused officers are a very low risk of fleeing the jurisdiction of the court and failing to appear. In many jurisdictions, they would be released without bail.


Mariposa

Unacceptable on any level. Even if these young people are considered misfits, this kind of alleged abuse will not cause them to “snap to.” Extremely detrimental!


Pelican1

Can you imagine…a government program designed to help at risk youth…only to abuse them, possibly resulting criminal behavior as adults.

Once again, OUR tax dollars at work.


jonhartz

Using these criminals to tar all LEOs is just plain stupid. Every profession has a few bad apples, and they should have the book thrown at them. And, before you go after it, I can attest that our own Grizzly Youth Academy is run firmly and with care by the California National Guard. These four soon-to-be-ex-cops are an aberration.


kayaknut

But just once we would like to see all other LEO’s speak out about how bad these apples are, but we hear nothing, they all stand together and quietly support their B I B. We would also like to see that these “Bad Apples” go to jail and not quietly be allowed to “retire” or just slip away with not consequences. This standard practice it what we are tired of.


Cindy

While we certainly can’t cast the majority of all LE professionals into the same light as these 4 sadistic, deviant, psychopaths, the statement begs, which ones can we trust?


How did these LE pass the phych test that unleashed them unto the public streets with the powers to, detain, arrest, search, bear witness against and even kill citizens (they do have that power). Something is clearly wrong with the vetting process of our LE. While I’m at it, LE of all the public service employees should be the first that are required to be randomly drug tested but somehow, they have managed to hold themselves above that. There needs to be more accountability and less grand standing.


We’ve all heard “too many” nightmare cases, although LA is far worse than the Central Coast. I do trust that 98% of our LE in this area are trustworthy and honest. Also, the brothers have a tendency to keep their own honest.


SamLouis

“…although LA is far worse than the Central Coast…”


So you say. I seriously doubt that’s true.


SamLouis

The California National Guard is not a “law enforcement organization (LEO.)” It’s part of the military.


Apples and oranges.


SamLouis

And it’s not stocked with law enforcement officers either. It’s stocked with soldiers.


Scott

No not just an aberration, several of SLO’ PD officers were booted from other agencies for cause, SLO PD is not immune to misconduct or dirty cops, I have seen more that my share of really dirty cops, and when I once asked at the time Captain Parkinson, about Scott Crammer, Limon, Mcdow, Pierce, and many others he said they are the Departments best and brightest , he said the same as sheriff about his men on the task force AJ Santana, Victor Nunez, Dustin Alexander, and many others he turned to be again all wrong.


Remember there was a massive illegal gambling ring in the SLO SO but you never read it nor was it ever made public commander Voge made sure it was swept under the carpet, they even targeted one of there X Deputies Darren Murphy as the ring leader. When CCN uncovered the dirty little secrets of the ” Summer Johnson” scam on FB it ended up exposing them to spying on not just 4 judges 3 DDA’s and over 11 members of the Sheriffs own staff not to mention X Chief Gesell.


When some out of area Federal Agents opened a covert criminal investigations ongoing yet not one local law enforcement agency is in the loop nor are they part of it, due to the corruption. So we do have plenty of very bad officers still on the local forces.


Slowerfaster

If there is a force of a dozen officers and one ‘bad apple’ that the others tolerate and/or protect; then you have a dozen bad cops. None of them are good, and none deserve to be ‘peace’ officers.


fhill123

Makes me really want to trust Law Enforcement, NOT!