They got the idea from movies, police say.
Dion and Malisa Stevens allegedly wanted to punish their 12-year-old daughter — and so they waterboarded the preteen at their home in Aliquippia, Pennsylvania, according to CBS Pittsburgh. The couple restrained the girl in a chair with packing tape, police say, and shoved rags into her mouth. Police allege that they then poured water over the girl’s mouth while her hands were tied behind her back.
The incident happened last April, CBS reported, and police learned about it after a Children & Youth Services (CYS) caseworker alerted law enforcement.
Police say the Stevenses admitted in October to waterboarding their daughter and were arrested, according to WPXI.
But under a potential plea deal, the parents could be reunited with their unidentified daughter and miss out on any jail time.
David Lozier, the Beaver County district attorney, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that his office offered the defendants a plea deal that would involve the parents pleading guilty to a felony count of endangering the welfare of children in exchange for seven years of probation. Three other felony counts would be dropped, Lozier said, and the Stevenses would be able to reunite with their now-13-year-old daughter while under supervision. There is also a possibility that their probation could be reduced to five years, he added.
It’s a plea deal that both parents want to take, according to WPXI. Lee Rothman, a defense attorney, said he and his client “hope that the agreement will be upheld.”
“It is an agreement that is geared toward family reunification,” he told the TV station.
Lozier offered an explanation for the deal, which still requires approval from a judge before it can be considered official.
He argued that the daughter, who police allege was “screaming and panicking and trying to get loose from the chair” during the waterboarding, wants to be in contact with her family again.
“If we kept the strangulation and aggravated assault, the family would never be able to reunify, and the minor wanted to regain contact with the parents,” Lozier told the Post-Gazette. “The goal here is to allow the minor to return to live with her parents under close supervision of CYS.”