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Arizona Extends Operating License of Boys Ranch

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Arizona Department of Economic Security on Tuesday announced it would temporarily extend the operating license of the Arizona Boys Ranch pending the completion of at least two inquiries into the March 2 death there of a 16-year-old Sacramento boy, as well as investigations of new child abuse allegations.

The ranch’s license to operate expired Tuesday, but the department said there wasn’t sufficient time to sift through reports compiled by various agencies since the death of Nicholaus Contreraz, who collapsed during punitive physical exercise.

The license for the ranch has previously been placed on provisional status three times because of abuse claims.

The volume of new abuse claims has bogged down investigators, according to DES Assistant Director James A. Hart.

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Hart said there have been between 20 and 25 claims of child abuse lodged against the ranch since Nicholaus’ death.

Joe Estrada, director of juvenile placement for the Los Angeles County Probation Department, said his department has filed 55 abuse claims against the ranch since March 2.

The paramilitary-style camp draws the majority of its population from California juvenile offenders.


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