Helena, MT – A Montana has pleaded guilty to waterboarding four children as a “learning experience.”
The 42-year-old man pleaded guilty Friday to four misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. The man struck a plea deal with prosecutors and had felony charges, which included making threats against public officials, dropped.
Two of the children were the Jefferson County man’s 9-year-old and 12-year-old sons. The other two children were neighbors, ages 13 and 15.
District Judge James B. Wheelis sentenced the Montana man to 180 days in jail for each charge, all of which have been suspended. Minus the 80 days he has already spent in custody, the man will face two years of probation.
The man was arrested on December 5 after his then-girlfriend walked in on him simulating drowning his sons. The woman said he straddled the boys and placed his hand over their face and mouth and dumped water over their faces. He called it a learning experience for the boys, his ex-girlfriend said. The former girlfriend also said that she had her fingers and wrist broken when she tried to stop the children from being waterboarded.
The two teen neighbors told a Child Protective Service worker that they had been waterboarded as well.
This isn’t the first time a father has been accused of waterboarding his own children. In August 2012, a Delaware pediatrician was arrested after his daughter accused him of waterboarding her while her mother watched and did nothing. Dr. Melvin Morse and his wife Pauline both faced abuse charges stemming from incidents of abuse against their two daughters, ages 5 and 11.
The 11-year-old said the abuse began in May 2009 and continued for two years. Morse’s particular form of waterboarding involved running the girl’s face under a running faucet. Morse also told her he was going to wrap her in a blanket to keep her from moving.
In 2010, a Nebraska man waterboarded his girlfriend by tying her to a sofa with belts and headbands, stuffing socks in her mouth, and then putting a t-shirt over her head and pouring water over her face. The 22-year-old, Trevor Case, also tied her ankles with a vacuum cleaner cord. He threatened her with a knife but only “prodded her once in the side of the stomach.” Case had also been convicted once before for assaulting the same girlfriend.
What do you think should happen to the man who waterboarded his sons and two other children?