The man, who was not named, was reported to police by the man’s girlfriend. She told officers that her boyfriend had “waterboarded” his 7-year-old daughter, according to probable cause documents obtained by KIRO.
Enraged by his daughter allegedly lying and talking back to him, the man used his belt to “violently spank” the girl about a dozen times, officers wrote in the documents.
The man’s girlfriend tried to stop him, telling him he was going “way overboard.” The man then forced his daughter into a bathroom and used the torture technique on the girl as she yelled “I can’t breathe.”
The woman left the apartment and called 911. When interviewed, the girl confirmed the girlfriend’s account.
When the man was arrested he said he did use “water” but when asked how he used it he said “just water.”
He later told officers that he poured water on her for 2 to 3 seconds but stopped when his daughter said: “I don’t want to die,” reported the Tacoma News-Tribune. He said that thinking about what he’d done, he went too far.
Officers found the items said to be used in the waterboarding. Waterboarding is a torture technique in which water is forced into a detainee’s mouth and nose so as to induce the sensation of drowning.
The man was arrested and booked into the Pierce County Jail on charges including assault of a child. It wasn’t clear why his name was not released.
An estimated 674,000 children were determined to be victims of maltreatment in 2017, according to the Department of Health & Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. Of the victims, about 75 percent were neglected, 18 percent were physically abused, and 9 percent were sexually abused.
Nationwide, an estimated 1,720 children died from abuse and neglect, a slight decline from the 1,750 children who died from the same treatment in the previous year.
Officials said there was an increase in the number of referrals to Child Protective Services for an investigation but that there was a decline in the number of maltreatment cases, a phenomenon they will be probing. Of the abused children, 25 percent were younger than 1 year old. Another 52 percent were between 1 year old and 5 years old.
The children who were killed by abuse or neglect were also overwhelmingly young, with about half of the fatalities being younger than 1 year old. Boys made up 58 percent of the deaths.
Perpetrators of abuse or neglect are most often in the 25 to 34 age range. More than four-fifths (83.4 percent) of the perpetrators were between 18 and 44 years old. Perpetrators were more likely to be female.
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, contact your local child protective services office or law enforcement agency so officials can investigate and assess the situation.
Most states have a number to call to report abuse or neglect. To find out where to call, consult the State Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Numbers website. The Childhelp organization can also provide crisis assistance and other counseling and referral services. Contact them at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).
“Every year more than 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies involving more than 6.6 million children (a referral can include multiple children),” according to Childhelp. “The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations—losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect.”