A Pennsylvania couple allegedly admitted to waterboarding a 12-year-old girl to punish her, the Beaver County Times reports.
Dion Stevens, 34, and Malisa Stevens, 41, were charged earlier this week after police received a tip that the pair was physically abusing the girl.
The victim reportedly told authorities that in April, the Stevens’ dragged her into a basement, bound her to a chair with tape, tied her hands behind her back and shoved rags into her mouth.
The pair then allegedly placed a wet towel over the girl’s face, tipped her up so her feet didn’t touch the ground and poured cold water on her, according to police.
The girl told authorities that she had a difficult time breathing with the wet towel stuck to her head, and that in some instances during the waterboarding she could not breathe at all.
The victim was “screaming and panicking, trying to get loose from the chair,” according to police records obtained by the Beaver County Times.
When investigators confronted they couple, they reportedly “openly admitted” to the waterboarding, which they said was intended to be punishment.
Dion and Melissa Stevens reportedly said they learned about the technique “through a movie.”
Police had attempted to speak with the couple on May 25, but they failed to appear for the interview. They also have not responded to phone calls from detectives, the newspaper reports.
Prosecutors have charged both Dion and Malisa Stevens with aggravated assault, strangulation, unlawful restraint, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child.
Press reports do not say how the victim knew the couple or whether they are related.
The waterboarding allegedly occurred in Aliquippa, which is about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.
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