Deputies: Tampa man beat 11-year-old with PVC pipe at gym, arrested for child abuse

TAMPA, Fla. -- A Tampa man has been arrested and charged with child abuse after he reportedly beat an 11-year-old boy with a PVC pipe in a local gym. 

Deputies say Michael Hernandez, 35, would punish the 11-year-old boy by making him hold a weighted bar and if the victim lowered the bar, Hernandez would repeatedly use the PVC pipe to strike the boy in the buttocks, legs and lower back. 

The incident occurred on Thursday, November 9 at approximately 7 p.m., after regular hours, at the Phase 5 gym located at 202 Moon Street S. 

The owner of Phase 5 Fitness, Eric Auciello, told us that the child was not a member of the gym and that their policy is that no children are allowed in the training area. 

"For the past 10 years...Phase 5 Fitness has proudly worked with law enforcement, military-service members and first responders. Safety and quality instruction is the hallmark of our gym and the actions of Mr. Hernandez stand in direct opposition to our beliefs. He is no longer affiliated with our facility in any way. As a father of two young girls...I find the alleged acts perpetrated by Mr. Hernandez to be abhorrent," Auciello said.

The victim suffered multiple bruises from the abuse. 

Hernandez was arrested at his home in Tampa without incident and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail. 

Deputies continue to investigate the incident. 

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