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GBW's Scott Carr and Jenna Edzant File Sexual Assault and Hazing Lawsuit Against UC Regents and Bruin Woods Family Camp on Behalf of Two UCLA Students

The civil lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleges a toxic culture of binge drinking, hazing, and sexual assault for staff members at the prestigious Bruin Woods family camp in Lake Arrowhead.

The plaintiffs shared their harrowing stories of this past summer with ABC7. "They're creating a place for people to be assaulted, like with binge drinking, with doors that don't lock, and with way more women than men," said Samea Derrick, a second-year UCLA student. "It's so dangerous."

Before camp started, the students received a packing list that advised bringing "fake IDs, condoms, and birth control," among other personal items. According to the complaint, the women endured physical abuse and sensory deprivation while being forced to wear pillowcases over their heads as senior staffers verbally berated them as part of a hazing ritual.

GBW partner Scott Carr told the Los Angeles Times how this type of behavior thrives in secrecy, "They bring you in, talking about how they're going to be your best friends, and they get you to trust them, and then once you trust them, they get you to protect their secrets," Carr said. "And that's exactly what happened here."

Returning staff members coerced the plaintiffs to get naked at a party, consume excessive alcohol and jump into the lake. Both women say male staffers sexually assaulted them after becoming incapacitated from drinking alcohol.

"That (first) night, I got really drunk, and I actually ended up blacking out, and that's when I got assaulted by the returning staffer," Lydia Dixon, a third-year UCLA student told ABC7.

“When I woke up on Thursday morning, I was naked in my bed, and I just had like sheer panic ... because I didn’t know what had happened,” Derrick said to the LA Times.

The plaintiffs left Bruin Woods shortly after the incidents, traumatized and deeply troubled that camp managers not only turned a blind eye to this misconduct, they embraced and celebrated the camp's "sacred traditions."

"This has been going on for a long time, and it needs to stop," said Carr, who blames a culture of secrecy as a major reason why hazing, such as what his suit alleges, is allowed to persist. "You look at fraternities. For a long time, they were hazing, and a lot of it was kept under the radar because of secrecy, because of coercion. Things people do to prevent it from becoming public."

The women are suing the UC Regents and the summer camp to hold the institution accountable for failing to protect its staff and fostering a toxic and dangerous workplace for young people that has been an open secret for decades. They also want to warn fellow UCLA students who may consider applying to work at the summer camp as recruitment season gets underway.

"It's just been really difficult to deal with, so I want to make sure that no one else has to," Derrick told the LA Times.
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