PALM SPRINGS, Fla. - A child came forward to investigators saying he was handcuffed to a dog cage for 12 hours as punishment with no access to food or the restroom, according to a Palm Springs Police report.
Months after the investigation began, Robert Dersa II was arrested Monday and is facing child abuse and aggravated battery charges.
The child said he was handcuffed as punishment for not asking for permission before going into the refrigerator, according to recently released court documents.
A Palm Springs police officer and the Florida Department of Children and Families began looking into the case in October when the allegations are said to have occurred.
The child said he’s not allowed in the refrigerator without asking permission first. The officer also reported the child saying he was hit with a “vacuum stick” and punched during the ordeal.
A detective met with Dersa on Monday. Dersa allegedly said the cage is for two large iguanas but he could not find pictures of the iguanas when the detective questioned him.
Dersa denied putting the child in the dog crate but said the boy “has been nothing but a problem,” the detective wrote in the report.
During a visit to the home, an officer documented a large dog crate in a bedroom with two sets of handcuff on the front of it.
Positive findings for psychological abuse and neglect were found in the report. Investigators believe the child has a history of being locked up in the cage handcuffed.
A spokesperson for the Palm Springs Police Department said the child has been placed in DCF care. Dersa is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail on $53,000 bond.