A Pennsylvania couple allegedly used waterboarding as a form of punishment for their 12-year-old daughter. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Malisa Stevens, 41 and Dion Stevens, 34, were both charged with strangulation, unlawful restraint, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and child endangerment.
However, their attorney is working a plea deal with the district attorney’s office on their behalf, meaning that the couple could escape with no jail time. Lee Rothman pointed out that it was more crucial to unify the fractured family than to dole out further punishment.
The waterboarding incident took place last April. In May, a caseworker notified police officers after the girl told a neighbor who called a child abuse hotline. When the parents of the 12-year-old girl were queried, they admitted to using extreme measures to punish their daughter.
The girl would corroborate the story to Aliquippa police that she was bundled into the basement by her parents and tied up in a black folding chair with packaging tape. The 12-year-old girl revealed that her parents stuffed rags into her mouth, placed a wet towel over her face, tilted her chair backward and poured a cold bucket of water over her covered face. She said water was particularly poured over her mouth to keep her from breathing and screaming.
When police obtained a search warrant for the Stevens residence, they recovered the black folding chair that the couple admitted having used during the incident. The parents were scheduled to meet with investigators but went on the run instead. But they turned themselves over months later to face their charges.
CBS Pittsburgh is reporting that if the plea deal of the Stevens is successful, they will get five to seven years probation. There is also the likelihood that the family would be reunited, although monitored closely by child services.
Waterboarding is a simulated drowning technique. The controversial practice, detailed by the Telegraph, involves strapping down a person, covering the face with a cloth, and then pouring water over the mouth and nose to create a horrifying sensation of drowning.
CIA agents who undergo waterboarding as part of their counter-interrogation training last an average of 14 seconds before breaking. Graphic torture documents made available to NBC News claims 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed was once waterboarded 183 times in a single month to coerce him into revealing further attacks in the United States.