CAMDEN, SC (WIS) - It's a historic Midlands school that transforms young men into military leaders.
But, to one California family, Camden Military Academy left its mark in a different way, saying that it injured their son psychologically. That's nearly an exact quote from a new lawsuit against the school. The suit itself is fairly short, but it's packed with serious allegations against the school outside Camden.
The two parents say their minor son enrolled at Camden Military Academy back in 2014. It says John Heflin, the Dean of Students, began an inappropriate relationship with the student that ultimately crossed the line.
The lawsuit says that relationship started with gifts, progressed to innuendos, and then evolved into talk of sex acts and promised sexual favors. It also alleges that the defendant Heflin had numerous conversations regarding how the sexual activity was going to "change [the minor]," the suit says.
The suit describes those conversations as "sexually hostile," and it says the school was negligent in allowing it to happen. The school, along with Heflin, strongly denies the allegations in legal filings and a statement sent to WIS.
"At no point in time was Camden Military Academy contacted by the family or former student with any questions or concerns relating to these allegations. CMA only learned of the allegations shortly before the filing of the lawsuit and only then by an attorney.
We are not aware of any information to support the allegations against CMA or John Heflin and the allegations are denied," the school wrote in a statement. "CMA stands by its mission statement to educate and inspire our students so they have an opportunity to achieve their maximum potential and gain the educational foundation to succeed in college and life as productive, contributing citizens."
The federal case is in its early stages but the school is hoping a judge will dismiss it.
In a 2012 lawsuit against the school, two Georgia parents alleged their son was brutally hazed, sometimes sexually, at Camden Military Academy. Ultimately, a jury sided with the school.