An Army sergeant who served in Iraq for 15 months has been restricted to his Washington military base after being accused of waterboarding his 4-year-old daughter because she refused to recite her ABCs.
Joshua Ryan Tabor, 27, was arrested on Jan. 31 and charged with assaulting a child after police in Yelm, Wash., responded to a call of a disturbance at Tabor's home and then later found the little girl hiding in a locked bathroom, according to Police Chief Todd Stancil.
"We had a report of [Tabor] walking around his neighborhood holding a Kevlar helmet and threatening to bust out windows," Stancil told ABCNews.com today. "In the process of talking to Tabor's girlfriend about what was going on, we learned that he had also been abusing his daughter."
Stancil said that when the cops coaxed the little girl out of the bathroom they saw that she was covered in "multiple bruises pretty much all over her body."
"She was very open with us," Stancil said of the young girl, whose name is not being released because she is a minor. "She basically came right out and said, 'Daddy does this to me. He uses his hands.'"
Both the girl and the father admitted to the torture, even detailing how Tabor would sit the girl on the edge of the bathroom sink and hold her head down until it was nearly submerged in water, dunking her if she refused to recite the alphabet, said Stancil.
Tabor's girlfriend, who is not identified in the police reports, could also be charged in the crime, said Stancil. Several portions of the police report are redacted and may implicate the girlfriend in the assault.
In the police report, the girl told authorities that "Daddy was upset becuase she wouldn't say her letters" and that he then put her in the water.
"It was hot! The water was hot!" the girl told police, according to the incident report. "I told him I would say my letters then! My heart shirt got wet."
Tabor told authorities that "his purpose was to punish her by putting her in the water because he knows she is afraid of it and he wanted her to cooperate."
"She said her letters after that," Tabor told the cops, admitting that he had grown frustrated with the girl after practicing the letters for "approximately three hours."
The torture technique of waterboarding, which has been used by the CIA during interrogations of al Qaeda suspects, was outlawed in 2009 by President Obama.
Stancil said he is not sure whether Tabor actually ran the water over the girl's face, a move that would force a gag reflex. His girlfriend reported having "heard the water running" and said that Tabor had an "anger management problem," Stancil said.
"Tabor told investigators that he feels his daughter is 'behind mentally for where she should be for her age,'" said Stancil. "He's blaming the bruises on her squirming and trying to get away from him on the porcelain counter that surrounds the sink."
Girl Allegedly Waterboarded By Army Dad
Stancil said that the young girl was "very articulate" and did not appear to have any developmental issues.
Tabor, who was released Monday from the Thurston County Jail in Olympia on $10,000 bail, did not answer the phone at his Yelm home. An attorney for Tabor was not immediately known.
His arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 16 in Thurston County Superior Court, according to the Nisqually Valley News.
The girl lived with Tabor, his girlfriend and several other children who belonged to the girlfriend. Included in the house was a 2-month-old baby boy Tabor had with his girlfriend.
Tabor's daughter had only been living with him for just two months, according to Stancil. A court ruled late last year that Tabor would split custody of his daughter with the girl's mother in five month increments. Tabor was to care for the girl for the first half of 2010, said Stancil.
The girl's grandparents, who had been caring for the girl prior to the court's decision in their home in Montana, have since come to Yelm and have taken custody of the girl.
According to a Joseph Piek, a spokesman for the Lewis-McChord base where Tabor is assigned, Tabor is a helicopter repairer.
Tabor was assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in December 2006 and was deployed with his unit to Iraq for 15 months from May 2007 to August 2008.
Since posting bail, Tabor has been restricted to the base and is living in his unit's barracks, according to Piek.