Officer acquitted of child abuse at Camp SLO after two others plead no contest

At the conclusion of a case that resulted in jail time for two Southern California policemen, a San Luis Obispo jury acquitted a Huntington Park police officer of child abuse charges stemming from a boot camp held on the Central Coast.

In May 2015, the Huntington Park and South Gate police departments teamed up to conduct the Leadership Empowerment and Discipline Boot Camp at Camp San Luis Obispo. Shortly after the boot camp ended, a Southern California attorney went to the press alleging police officers had abused numerous teens.

The allegations of abuse including officers allegedly punching children in the head, stepping on their hands and backs during push-ups and beating them in a dark room. One teen reportedly suffered a broken finger during the camp.

After conducting an investigation of their own, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s detectives arrested four officers who were accused of physically abusing a total of 15 teens at the boot camp. San Luis Obispo County prosecutors then filed charges against three of the officers: Edgar Yovany Gomez and Carlos Manuel Gomez-Marquez, of the South Gate Police Department, and Marissa Elizabeth Larios, of the Huntington Park Police Department.

The three officers faced multiple misdemeanor counts of physically and emotionally abusing children.

Earlier this year, Gomez and Gomez-Marquez, who are brothers, both pleaded no contest to most of the charges they faced. They each received sentences of 60 days in jail and four years of probation.

Larios, who was prosecuted separately, stood trial in San Luis Obispo Superior Court. Prosecutors alleged Larios choked a 14-year-old and left another teen in handcuffs for an extended period of time.

On Tuesday, the jury acquitted Larios of all of the charges she faced. Had she been convicted, Larios faced up to 18 months in jail.

Larios has reportedly returned to work on the Huntington force.