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Operator of troubled boot camp charged in sex assault case

March 28, 2012 |  6:09 pm

Pasadena boot camp
The operator of a controversial boot camp in Pasadena was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting two teenage girls in 2004, authorities said.

Kelvin Bernard McFarland, 42, pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon during an arraignment to five felony counts of assaulting the two 14-year-old girls in March and December 2004, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said.

McFarland, known at the boot camp as "First Sgt. Mac," has been charged in a separate criminal case stemming from allegations that he abused children at  Sarge’s Community Base/Commit II Achieve Boot Camp.

Charges in that case include kidnapping, false imprisonment and extortion. The district attorney's office did not say whether the sexual assault charges were connected to the boot camp.

Videos apparently produced about two years ago show youths being subjected to harsh treatment at the camp. One video showed McFarland forcing children to drink a lot of water. Several were seen vomiting as a result.

The other video shows a boy crying as he carries a truck tire around his shoulders. McFarland and three other instructors are shown screaming at the boy and teasing him to say he “loves his sergeant.”

The videos were obtained by the Pasadena Star News.

McFarland was being held on $275,000 bail in the sexual assault case, authorities said. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing April 17 at the Pasadena courthouse.

In the abuse case, McFarland is scheduled for a pretrial hearing in Pasadena on April 11.


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--Robert J. Lopez


Photo: Boot camp. Credit: KTLA-TV Channel 5