SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah (ABC4 News) – A man was arrested for child abuse on Saturday after police said he brought a teen boy into the Juvenile Receiving Center in South Salt Lake on Friday after he allegedly had tied a rope around the boy’s neck and legs.
According to arresting documents, Bernardo Meza, 35, brought a 15-year-old boy into the center on Friday. The teen told the staff there his father had slapped him in the face, pushed him to the ground which caused his head to hit a railing, and tied his arms and legs with a rope.
The boy said Meza tried to tie his arms and legs with the rope in order to drag him. At one point the boy said Meza attempted to tie the rope around his neck, but he was able to get away, documents state.
Records show Meza eventually tied the rope around the boy’s neck and then tied the rope around his other leg which caused pain to the back of his neck as it pulled his neck to his chest.
Police observed rope abrasions on the neck of the boy and redness to his face where he had been struck. The boy told police Meza had him pinned down in the car as they transported him to the center, according to records.
Documents state the boy told police he was scared of Meza and does not feel safe with him at home. He said he tried to stay calm in the car over to the center but he was being “pinned down” by the man.
During an interview with police, Meza said the boy doesn’t follow the rules at home and he did attempt to tie the boy’s hands with a rope to get him into the car so he could take him to the Juvenile Receiving Center. He said the rope “may have” been around the back of the neck of the boy, documents state.
Meza was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on one count misdemeanor child abuse.
A background check on Meza showed very little criminal history in Utah.