Drilled into prison

Drilled into prison

Former boot camp operator faces 13 years after admitting to sex crimes and kidnapping

By André Coleman 07/10/2013

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Embattled former Pasadena boot camp operator Kelvin “Sgt. Mac” McFarland changed earlier pleas of not guilty to no contest in relation to felonies that include kidnapping, oral copulation with a person under the age of 16 and lewd acts with a child.  
McFarland, who ran Family First Boot Camp, which police said is now closed, faces a total of 13 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 21.

McFarland changed his pleas after his attorney Lawrence Forbes successfully filed a 995 motion to have a charge of forcible rape removed from a 2004 case in which McFarland was accused of sexually molesting two 14-year-old girls. A 995 motion is typically filed on grounds of insufficient evidence.

Forbes would not comment on the case against his client.

Assistant District Attorney Brooke White also declined to comment.

McFarland was charged in March with penetration by a foreign object, forcible rape, oral copulation of a person under the age of 16, lewd acts upon a child and unlawful sexual intercourse after detectives in Pasadena discovered a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department file indicating McFarland had been previously accused of sexual molestation. Sheriff’s deputies had taken DNA from the two victims but never followed up on either case, prompting Pasadena detectives to open their own investigation.

At that time, McFarland had already been charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment and extortion after he stopped a 14-year-old girl on Orange Grove Boulevard and Mentor Avenue, handcuffed her and placed her in his car. He then drove the child to her aunt’s house and refused to take off the handcuffs until he was paid $100.

Several months later, a videotape surfaced which showed McFarland and some of his employees forcing a child to guzzle excessive amounts of water until he vomited. McFarland and the other instructors also yelled at children and forced them to carry truck tires around their necks.

As a result of this case, then-Assemblyman Anthony Portantino and state Sen. Carol Liu introduced legislation to regulate juvenile boot camps, jointly authoring SB 1089, which would add regulations for boot camps and other nontraditional youth programs to the California Health and Safety Code.

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