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Tampa father accused of water torture admits child abuse, gets probation

TAMPA — A father accused of using water torture on his daughter as punishment for finding his pornography was sentenced Thursday to five years of probation.

Moslim Al-Assadi, 37, was initially charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse, but pleaded guilty to two downgraded counts of child abuse as part of a prosecution deal.

His daughter told Tampa police that in July 2008, he dunked her head into a tub of water until she could not breathe to punish her.

Police took Al-Assadi's children. Then, as the investigation continued, his son told detectives that his father made him go outside and fill a bucket with water, tied his hands behind his back, and dipped his head into the water as a punishment.

According to an arrest report, the boy, of grade school age, also said that his father once burned the bottom of his hand with a hot frying pan after he improperly prepared a meal.

Assistant State Attorney Kimberly Hindman said Al-Assadi's parental rights have been terminated, as have the rights of the children's mother, for an unrelated case. In 2003, two of the couple's three children fell from a two-story window while under her watch, according to court documents. Hindman said the family which has the children now was informed of the plea.

Since the father and children moved to Tampa in 2006, authorities have responded to a half-dozen calls about alleged mistreatment.

But prosecutors found inconsistency in the children's statements. Defense witnesses would have testified that they never saw any abuse or injuries.

"The state does think the child abuse occurred," she said.

At the request of the prosecution, Circuit Judge Chet A. Tharpe ruled that during his probation, Al-Assadi can have no contact with children.

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at azayas@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3354.

Tampa father accused of water torture admits child abuse, gets probation 06/03/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 3, 2010 11:07pm]
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