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Judge says love of baseball isn't sufficient reason to modify bond

Frederick Mena, 25, accused of digging nails into student's skin

MIAMI – Love of baseball and a need for sunshine are not sufficient reasons to modify bond, a Miami-Dade County circuit court judge told a former Miami-Dade County public school teacher Tuesday.

Frederick Mena, 25, will remain on house arrest monitored with an electronic GPS anklet. 

Tuesday, Mena requested that his house arrest be revoked. The judge denied that request but said Mena is permitted to leave his home for appointments at his lawyer's office and to attend church services.

"He's not going to go anywhere," Judge Rodolfo Ruiz said. "I'm not going to have him, just because he likes the Yankees and he misses baseball, walking and being around children."

Mena was charged with aggravated abuse of a child in March after police said he dug his nails into a student's hand and left calf in his kindergarten class at Miami's Silver Bluff Elementary School.  He has since been fired.

Police said Mena admitted to the actions, claiming he was frustrated with her pace of learning. Police said Mena said he wanted to see the victim cry, wanted to take advantage of her while she was at a low point and felt no remorse after digging his nails into her skin.

"I'm not passing judgement on the charges, OK," Ruiz said. "I have a ton of letters indicating that he is a very, very good individual, and this may be some isolated or misunderstood circumstance."

Mena's family members claim he suffers from emotional problems and is on medication. Ruiz asked his attorney to arrange for psychological evaluations that prosecutors and the court can review.

"I don't want them to come back and tell me, 'Judge, we spotted him with a kid on the playground leaving,' because then they're going to come back and they're going to want me to hold you in custody," Ruiz told Mena in court.

Mena's trial is scheduled for next month.

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About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.