Two instructors at an East Los Angeles-based disciplinary boot camp for troubled youth have been arrested for abusing minors they were supposed to be mentoring, authorities announced Wednesday.
The two men were arrested on suspicion of continuously hitting and beating 11 juveniles -- nine male and two female -- between the ages of 12 and 17, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Bureau said.
Suspects Edgar Alvarado, 36, and Ruben Romero, 21, were instructors at 180 Degree Recon, a youth mentoring program designed to help instill self-discipline and respect in juveniles with "bad attitudes," drug and alcohol problems and poor grades, according to the company’s website.
The alleged abuse took place at a facility in the Angeles National Forest known as Camp Coulter, and at the organization’s headquarters in East LA between 2010 and 2012, authorities said in a news release.
One of the female victims alleged that she was inappropriately touched by Alvarado, the release stated.
The two men were taken into custody at the camp’s headquarters on the 1000 block of Goodrich Boulevard in East LA, authorities said.
They were detained in mid-February, according the Sheriff's Department's inmate locator website. Alvarado remains in the downtown LA Men's Central Jail pending $405,000 bail, and is due in Pasadena Superior Court on March 28, the website states.
Ruben, who is being charged under the name Ruben Romero Mora, pleaded not guilty at the Pasadena courthouse on Feb. 19 and has been released. His next court hearing is April 17.
Alvarado is facing five felony counts, including sexual battery and willfully injuring a child, while Ruben is facing three misdemeanor counts of battery, the release stated.
The location of the boot camp was unclear, but the Sheriff's Department said it was in the "Angeles Crest Mountains," which is likely off Angeles Crest Highway in the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles.
The organization, 180 Degree Recon, was sued in 2011 by two mothers who said they each spent $800 to send their teens to the boot camp. One mom alleged her 13-year-old daughter was tied up by her wrists and punched in the face and stomach, according to an article by Courthouse News Service.
The organization's website said its process with juveniles "begins with breaking them down in order to build them back up as positive leaders in their communities."
The camp, a non-profit established in 2009, prides itself on having an “85 percent success rate in changing the lives of teenagers” in LA County, according to the website.
Detectives asked anyone with information to call 877-710-5273.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.