A Wisconsin man has been accused of waterboarding his girlfriend to force the woman to admit that she was cheating on him with another man.
The torture, detailed in a criminal complaint provided to The Washington Post, was part of an alleged string of violent, abusive acts Dylan VanCamp exacted upon his onetime girlfriend throughout much of 2015, according to police.
The 22-year-old Merill, Wis., man is facing six felonies and three misdemeanors, including suffocation, stalking and battery, according to the complaint.
“I pursue these domestic violence cases to let people know we are watching and we are not going to brush these kinds of crimes under the rug,” Lincoln County District Attorney Don Dunphy told The Post. “Now having said that, I would remind you that Mr. VanCamp is only alleged to have committed these crimes and he is currently presumed innocent.”
Dunphy added that if convicted, VanCamp — a repeat offender convicted of strangulation and suffocation in another county — could face up to a decade in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Waterboarding is a controversial interrogation technique in which a subject is immobilized and water is poured through a cloth covering their nose and mouth. In addition to being physically dangerous, it is designed to simulate the sensation of drowning in the victim. After labeling waterboarding “torture,” President Obama’s administration discontinued its use during his first term in office.
VanCamp is also accused of throwing a fork at the victim and violently attacking her on two other occasions, once until she nearly passed out, according to the complaint. The victim — who is not identified in the redacted complaint — said she declined to report the abuse to police because she feared her boyfriend.
The waterboarding incident, which took place in June, began when VanCamp and his girlfriend were at her apartment, according to the complaint. The woman told police that her boyfriend became “enraged” after he discovered that she was on a social media site “speaking with a boy she had known for quite some time.”
The pair, who had only been dating about a month, left the apartment and VanCamp “punched her about the face,” the complaint states.
The victim told police that she fled and, later that day, that VanCamp showed up at her apartment again and dragged her from the shower by her hair. After punching the woman in the head and holding a knife to her face, VanCamp proceeded to push his girlfriend onto a bed, place a washcloth over her mouth and nose and begin pouring water over her face, the complaint states.
The woman told police that she knew what he was doing was known as “waterboarding” and it is “some sort of torture.” Because her eyes were left uncovered, the victim was able to see exactly what VanCamp was doing, according to the complaint.
She told police that “VanCamp dumped about three cups of water, trying to get her to admit that she was cheating with the guy she had been on the computer with.”
She “stated that she could not breathe and it felt like she was drowning,” the complaint adds.
The abuse would continue for months, according to police.
During one choking incident, VanCamp broke down in tears and said to his girlfriend, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I am not going back to prison,” according to the complaint.
During another attack, the victim told police that VanCamp grabbed a pair of pliers before looking at her and saying: “One thing has to go: a tooth or a nail.” After terrifying the woman, the complaint states, VanCamp put the tool down.
The victim was able to provide police with some photographic evidence of her injuries, but she told police that VanCamp had deleted photos from her phone.
VanCamp’s criminal history includes convictions for bail jumping, possession of drug paraphernalia, disorderly conduct, battery, and strangulation and suffocation, according to the complaint.