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Home / juvenile camp

Probation officer charged with assaulting juvenile in custody in Malibu

A supervising deputy probation officer has been charged with a felony count of assault under the color of authority against a minor at a juvenile camp in Malibu, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Monday.

Oscar Cross, 59, could face a maximum of three years in county jail if convicted of the charge, the district attorney said at a news conference.

Cross allegedly used excessive force as he and four other deputy probation officers tried to restrain a juvenile at the Los Angeles County Probation Department’s Camp Kilpatrick facility on Oct. 23, 2020, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

The district attorney noted that Cross had completed a four-hour course a day earlier on child abuse prevention and reporting.

“This was a brutal assault on a child by a person entrusted in his care while he was in (the) custody of the Probation Department,” Gascón said.

The district attorney noted that a video that the Los Angeles Times obtained was “critical to our ability to charge this case,” indicating it showed the youth screaming and crying in pain.

“I think it’s hard to dispute when you have a video as clear as this particular video was that depicted the incident and the level of force that was being used and how unnecessary that force was,” Gascón said.

The district attorney refused to say whether any other probation officers will be charged, saying that “there are still multiple investigations going on.”

County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath told reporters that she was “horrified to learn about and to witness through the video a clear and disturbing use of excessive force that occurred in my district,” and said she was “further disturbed when little was done by our prior chief probation officer to hold the perpetrator responsible for this heinous act.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that former Probation Department Chief Adolfo Gonzales did not heed recommendations to fire Cross or provide the video to the District Attorney’s Office.

Los Angeles County Probation Oversight Commissioner Franky Carrillo said the criminal filing “will send a clear message to the department that this is something that cannot be accepted.”

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