The trial of a Huntington Park police officer accused of abusing children at a disciplinary youth boot camp in 2015 began in SLO County Superior Court this week.
- File Photo
- OFFICER ON TRIAL Huntington Park Police Department officer Marissa Larios is on trial in SLO County court for allegedly abusing children at a disciplinary boot camp held at Camp SLO in 2015.
Jury selection for the trial of Marissa Elizabeth Larios, 36, began on Nov. 27. Larios faces three misdemeanor charges in connection with her role at the Leadership Empowerment and Discipline (LEAD) boot camp, a program for at-risk youth run by the Huntington Park and South Gate police departments for children ages 11 through 17 and held at Camp San Luis Obispo between May 17 and 24.
According to SLO County prosecutors, Larios allegedly participated in the physical abuse of some of the participants in the program along with South Gate Police Department officers Edgar Yovany Gomez, 35, and Carlos Manuel Gomez-Marquez, 32. According to court documents filed in the case, Larios allegedly choked and hit a female cadet under her supervision and placed another in handcuffs for lengthy periods of time.
None of the alleged victims were from San Luis Obispo County, according to investigators.
Larios is the only one of the three officers to take her case to a jury trial. In August, Gomez and Gomez-Marquez, who are brothers, were sentenced to 60 days in county jail and four years probation after pleading no contest to some of the charges against them.
The brothers were accused by multiple victims of various abuses, including punching the children repeatedly, stomping on their hands, and locking them in a dark closet when they broke the rules.
"The case against Ms. Larios is weak by comparison, because there is ample evidence to show uses of force she allegedly employed were both within policy and completely justified," Larios' attorney wrote in a December 2016 motion to sever Larios' case from the brothers.
The trial is expected to take about two weeks. Δ