Former student claims abuse in teen boot camps

June 2, 2011 - 2:57 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A former student in a controversial Utah-based organization for troubled children contends in a federal lawsuit that its teen boot camp programs in Mexico traumatized him for life.

The lawsuit brought by 24-year-old Carl Brown Austin claims World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools subjected him to constant physical and emotional abuse over two years. The Washington state man was enrolled from age 13 to 15 in Casa by the Sea and High Impact.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Utah seeks at least $500,000 in actual and punitive damages. It alleges fraud and conspiracy.

A large federal suit brought in 2006 against the same organization with 300-plus plaintiffs is pending.

An attorney for the program did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.