Soldier guilty of child abuse

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier has pleaded guilty to three counts of third-degree assault of a child, domestic violence, seven months after he held his 4-year-old daughter's head under water in the kitchen sink at their Yelm home because she would not recite the alphabet.

Joshua Ryan Tabor, 27, pleaded guilty Tuesday under an Alford plea, meaning he does not admit guilt but concedes there is enough evidence to convict him. An Alford plea is the same as a guilty plea in the eyes of the court and results in a felony criminal conviction.

In return for Tabor’s plea, a prosecutor agreed to amend Tabor’s charges from second-degree child assault to third-degree child assault and recommended that he serve two years of community service and two years of community custody under the state Department of Corrections.

Yelm police arrested Tabor on Jan. 31, after Tabor’s girlfriend reported that he “was irate, intoxicated and walking around the neighborhood with his Kevlar helmet threatening to break windows,” court papers state.

According to court papers:

During the police investigation, an officer noticed severe bruises on the daughter’s back. Asked how she got them, she said, “Daddy did it.”

Tabor later told the officer he and his girlfriend “held (the 4-year-old) down on the counter and submerged her head into the water three or four times until the water came around her forehead and jawline.” Tabor said she was face-up when her head was in the water. He added that it was punishment for the girl “refusing to say her letters.”

Tabor’s then-girlfriend, Callie Combs, 26, faces three counts of second-degree assault of a child, domestic violence, for allegedly participating in the abuse. Her case is pending.

Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dominique Jinhong said Tabor’s guilty plea was unexpected and came Tuesday after she was going to revoke his conditions of release and jail him for making harassing phone calls to Combs. Combs has obtained a no-contact order from the court barring Tabor from communicating with her.

Tabor’s sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 2.

Sherry Hill, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Social and Health Services, said Wednesday the girl is in the custody of a relative, but she could not elaborate.

Combs reported to police in January that Tabor made his 4-year-old daughter “sit in urine-soaked clothes” when she wet herself. The girl was afraid of Tabor and hid in a closet to avoid him, Combs told Yelm police.

Carlson has said the child’s biological mother lives in Kansas.

A Lewis-McChord spokesman confirmed Wednesday that Tabor deployed in May 2007 for a 13-month tour in Iraq, where he served as a helicopter mechanic.

In an unrelated incident, a second Lewis-McChord soldier living in Yelm was charged Aug. 11 in Thurston County Superior Court with second-degree assault of a child for allegedly holding his 7-year-old foster son’s head “under water until he could not breathe.”

Ruben Colon, 29, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the count of second-degree assault of a child. He is not in custody. The alleged incident also occurred in January, court papers state.

Lewis-McChord spokesman Joseph Piek confirmed Wednesday that Colon is a solider who twice has deployed to Iraq before being stationed at the base. Piek added Colon returned in July from a deployment to Afghanistan.

DSHS spokeswoman Hill said Wednesday the child no longer is in Colon’s custody. The child is in foster care at a home in Montesano, court papers state.

The investigation of Colon’s alleged treatment of his foster child began as a referral to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office from Child Protective Services, court papers state.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465