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United for Peace of Pierce County - LOCAL NEWS: Lewis-McChord soldier 'waterboarded 4-year-old daughter unable to recite alphabet'

The London Daily Mail reported sensationally on Monday that a 27-year-old soldier at Joint Base Lewis-McChord "waterboarded his four-year-old daughter because she was unable to recite her alphabet."  --  "[Joshua] Tabor, 27, who had won custody of his daughter only four weeks earlier, admitted choosing the punishment because the girl was terrified of water," the London paper said.  --  As for the source of such behavior, "Police have not revealed Tabor's military service, but his base is home to units that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan."  --  The London paper seems to be the first media organization to unequivocally apply the term "waterboard" to the case.  --  CNN reported Monday that Tabor was arrested on Jan. 31 "after they responded to complaints about 2 a.m. that he was wandering around his neighborhood and appeared to be intoxicated."[2]  --  It in making subsequent inquiries that police elicited testimony of the abuse, but did not call it "waterboarding."  --  CNN said Tabor is indeed an "Iraq war veteran."  --  AFP put "waterboarding" in quotation marks, but it also added the explicit detail that he was said to have "pushed his daughter's head, face up, under a running faucet in the kitchen sink, said Yelm police chief Todd Stancil."[3]  --  This could indeed approximate the effect of waterboarding.  --  But it is not the account of what Tabor did that is given in the longest exposition of the case, which was published Monday in the Seattle Times.[4]  --  A Seattle Times update corrected earlier versions of the girl's subsequent fate, reporting that she is now "back with her [maternal grandmother] in Montana," where she had lived since she was born.  --  An early Feb. 3 report on the case by Jeremy Pawloski that appeared in the News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) and the Olympian (Olympia, WA) spoke of "dunking" and did not evoke the notion of "waterboarding."[5] ...




By Mail Foreign Service

Daily Mail (London)
February 8, 2010

A soldier waterboarded his four-year-old daughter because she was unable to recite her alphabet.

Joshua Tabor admitted to police he had used the CIA torture technique because he was so angry.

As his daughter 'squirmed' to get away, Tabor said he submerged her face three or four times until the water was lapping around her forehead and jawline.

Tabor, 27, who had won custody of his daughter only four weeks earlier, admitted choosing the punishment because the girl was terrified of water.

The practice of waterboarding was used by the CIA to break Al Qaeda suspects at Guantanamo Bay. Detainees had water poured over their face until they feared they would drown.  President Barack Obama has since outlawed the practice.

Tabor, a soldier at the Lewis-McChord base in Tacoma, Washington, was arrested after being seen walking around his neighborhood wearing a Kevlar military helmet and threatening to break windows.

Police discovered the alleged waterboarding when they went to his home in the Tacoma suburb of Yelm and spoke to his girlfriend.

She told them about the alleged torture and the terrified girl was found hiding in a closet, with bruising on her back and scratch marks on her neck and throat.

Asked how she got the bruises, the girl is said to have replied:  'Daddy did it.'

During a police interview Tabor allegedly admitted grabbing his daughter, placing her on the kitchen counter and submerging her face into a bowl of water.

Sergeant Rob Carlson said the punishment was carried out because the girl would not recite the alphabet.

Police have not revealed Tabor's military service, but his base is home to units that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tabor has been charged with assault and ordered to remain on his base and have no contact with his daughter or girlfriend, who has not been named.  He is due to appear in court this week.

The girl has been taken into care.  Her natural mother lives in Kansas but Tabor had been granted custody by a court.



By Patrick Oppmann

February 8, 2010

SEATTLE -- An Iraq war veteran has been charged with assault on suspicion of abusing his daughter, whose head he allegedly held in water to get her to recite the ABCs, according to police in Yelm, Washington.

Police arrested Army Sgt. Joshua Tabor on January 31 after they responded to complaints about 2 a.m. that he was wandering around his neighborhood and appeared to be intoxicated.

"He was threatening to break windows with his Kevlar helmet," said Todd Stancil, police chief of Yelm, about 60 miles south of Seattle.

Although the arrest happened more than a week ago, details of the case were not widely known publicly until Monday.

According to a police report, Tabor's girlfriend told police that he was physically abusing his 4-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.  The girl had recently moved to live with Tabor and, according to a police report, Tabor was angry that she "does not know her alphabet, colors, or numbers."

"He would fill the kitchen sink and put her head in it like he was washing her hair," Stancil told CNN.

The child had "severe bruising on her entire back," "scratch marks on her back made in a downward motion" and "bruising on both of her arms, her legs and her buttocks," the police report said.

According to the report, the girl told police:  "I don't know why he did it . . . Daddy used his hands."

The child also told police that Tabor "put me in the water," the report said, so she "would say my letters."

"It was hot, the water was hot.  I told him I would say my letters then!" the girl told police, according to the police report.

Under questioning, according to the police report, Tabor admitted to holding his daughter in the sink because she was afraid of water, and he wanted her to recite the ABCs.

But Tabor denied putting the child's face underwater or turning on the faucet. He put her head in the sink "three to four times," Tabor told police, according to the report.

"She said her letters after that," the report quoted Tabor as saying.

Police are investigating the incident, Stancil said.

Tabor was charged with third-degree assault of a child, but that could be upgraded because of the severity of the alleged assault, the chief said.

Joseph Piek, a spokesman for Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where Tabor is based, said Tabor returned last year after being stationed for 15 months in Iraq.  Tabor is restricted to the base and living with his unit, Piek said.



Agence France-Presse
February 8, 2010

A U.S. soldier has been charged with "waterboarding" his four-year-old daughter because she could not recite her ABCs, police in the western state of Washington said Monday.

In a fit of rage and under the influence of alcohol, 27-year-old Joshua Tabor and his girlfriend pushed his daughter's head, face up, under a running faucet in the kitchen sink, said Yelm police chief Todd Stancil.

"From what I understand it is very similar to waterboarding," said Stancil, referring to the interrogation technique -- a form of simulated drowning -- used on "war on terror" suspects and now banned as torture.

"And to make it only worse, the daughter is afraid of water," the police chief said.

"She would not recite her ABC's, is what we gathered.  So according to him (the father), that was a perfectly fine punishment," he said.

Police found the girl hiding in a bathroom after responding to reports of a disturbance early January 31.

"The suspect was intoxicated, walking around the neighborhood with a kevlar helmet, threatening to break out windows in the neighborhood," he said.

"Once the girlfriend of Mr. Tabor disclosed that he abused his 4-year-old daughter, we shifted our investigation to the daughter.

"We found the daughter hiding in the bathroom. Keep in mind that it was 2:00 am in the morning, so she was up and awake and hiding in the bathroom in fear of her father," he said.

He said the girl had been placed with a foster family.

Tabor was arrested and charged with second degree assault.


Local News


By Susan Gilmore

** A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier has been charged with assault after he allegedly put his 4-year-old daughter's head in water because she couldn't recite the alphabet. **

Seattle Times

February 8, 2010

A Lewis-McChord soldier has been charged with assault after he allegedly held his 4-year-old daughter mostly underwater because she couldn't recite the alphabet. Charging papers equated the technique to torture.

The incident came to light Jan. 31, when Joshua Tabor's girlfriend called police and said he was walking around their Yelm neighborhood, wearing a Kevlar vest and threatening to break windows, according to Thurston County Superior Court charging documents.

When officers arrived, Tabor's girlfriend told them that she and Tabor, 27, had just had an argument and that he beats his daughter, said Yelm Police Chief Todd Stancil.  Officers found the girl hiding in a locked bathroom and covered with extensive bruises all over her body, including her ears.

"Once she spoke to officers, she was articulate and told us right away, 'Daddy did this,'" Stancil said.

The girl told officers that her father hits her, and she also said he would fill a sink, lay her on her back and put her head into the water until the water was up to her eyes, Stancil said.

According to Stancil and charging papers, Tabor told officers he used the water technique as a way to have his daughter learn the alphabet.  "He felt she was academically behind for her age, and it was his way of trying to get her to learn," Stancil said.

Charging papers say Tabor "did not act as though he felt there was anything wrong with this form of punishment."

Prosecutors also allege Tabor would force his daughter to sit in urine-soaked clothes "until he gives her permission to change" as punishment for wetting herself.

Tabor is restricted to the Joint Base Lewis-McChord base during the investigation, Stancil said.  He is to appear in court Feb. 16 for arraignment.

Stancil said officers called Child Protective Services, and a foster family took the girl to a hospital to make sure she didn't have serious injuries.

The girl had been staying with Tabor for six weeks.  Tabor and the girl's mother, who lives in Kansas, had been involved in a lengthy custody battle and were supposed to share custody.  The girl was to stay with each parent for five months, Stancil said.

The child had been raised by her maternal grandmother, who lives in Montana, since she was born.  Stancil said the grandmother already has filed papers to regain custody.

According to Stancil, Tabor wouldn't let the girl talk to her grandmother and took away a stuffed animal she sent.  Police have since let her speak to her grandmother and returned the stuffed animal.

"She wanted to go back to Montana," Stancil said.  "When we let her talk to [her grandmother] she was so excited she was crying."

Stancil said Tabor's girlfriend might also be charged in the case.  "How can something go on for a month and a half and [she] not know anything about it?" he said.

Stancil said the girl's mother also came out from Kansas, but returned home without the child.  "The grandmother beat her to the punch by filing the paperwork prohibiting [the mother] from being around her until the courts sort it out."

Updated, 7:38 a.m., Feb. 9: The girl's grandmother, who raised her, said she is back with her in Montana.

"It has to go before the judge yet, but we hope she will remain here permanently," the grandmother wrote in an e-mail.  The grandmother, who says she has custody of the girl, asked not to be named because it would identify the child.

"She is quickly readjusting to being home again . . . more so due to the love and compassion she receives from us and from our neighbors who love her like their own," she wrote.

The grandmother said she hopes the girl's father faces strong punishment.

"Anyone who would harm a child like this, or even remotely close to this, deserves nothing less than the maximum sentence or more due to the defenselessness of a child this small," she said.

--Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



By Jeremy Pawloski

** Charged: Soldier accused of dunking 4-year-old as punishment

News Tribune (Tacoma, WA)
February 3, 2010

A man is accused of holding his 4-year-old daughter’s head under the water in the kitchen sink at their Yelm home Sunday night because she would not recite the alphabet, according to police and court papers.

The Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed a charge of second-degree assault of a child against Joshua Ryan Tabor, 27, on Tuesday.  His arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 16.

According to court records:

Yelm police responded to a disturbance Sunday night after Tabor’s girlfriend reported that Tabor, a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier, “was irate, intoxicated, and walking around the neighborhood with his Kevlar helmet threatening to break windows.”

Tabor’s girlfriend told Yelm police that Tabor beats his 4-year-old daughter, and that the child’s back was covered in bruises.  The girlfriend reported that the 4-year-old had locked herself in a closet because she was afraid of her father.

The girlfriend also reported that when the child wets herself, Tabor “makes her sit in the urine-soaked clothes” until he gives her permission to change.

The girl spoke to a Yelm officer, and he observed that she “had severe bruising on her entire back,” along with scratch marks and bruising on her neck, throat, chin, arms, legs and buttocks.

She “was asked how she got the bruises and she replied ‘Daddy did it.’ ”

Asked how or why it happened, the child would not reply, then said, “I don’t know why he did it.”

Tabor spoke to a Yelm police officer and said that he and his girlfriend had “held her down on the counter and submerged her head into the water three or four times until the water came around her forehead and jawline.”  He said that she was face-up when her head was in the water.  He added that they gave this punishment for the 4-year-old “refusing to say her letters.”

Tabor told police that his daughter is afraid of water “and was squirming around trying to get away from the water.  Joshua did not act as though he felt there was anything wrong with this form of punishment.”

Yelm Police Sgt. Rob Carlson confirmed Tuesday that the alleged abuse occurred because the child would not recite her “ABCs,” according to police reports.

The police investigation has revealed that Tabor has had “serious anger issues in the past” and “has taken anger management classes.”

Tabor was released Monday from the Thurston County Jail after posting $10,000 bail.  He is restricted to base at Lewis-McChord as a condition of his release.

He also may not have contact with his girlfriend or children.

The child has been taken into custody by Child Protective Services, according to a police report.

Carlson said the child’s biological mother lives in Kansas.  Yelm police have referred a potential criminal charge against Tabor’s girlfriend to the Thurston County prosecuting attorney, but she was not arrested Sunday night, Carlson said.

--Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.