Matthew Allen Farrar, 27, is facing felony child abuse charges after police in Lakewood, Washington, said he admitted to waterboarding his young daughter as punishment for talking back to him.
Farrar’s girlfriend told police that she witnessed Farrar spank his 7-year-old daughter at least a dozen times with a belt. She said he then dragged his daughter into the bathroom, placed a wash towel over her mouth and dumped water over it, causing the little girl to gag. Farrar’s girlfriend said after this was done, she took the child out of the house and called 911.
Farrar was arrested and booked into the Pierce County Jail. Bond was set at $50,000.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Matt Farrar Admitted to Spanking His Daughter With a Belt Multiple Times; His Girlfriend Told Police He Was Hitting the Child Too Hard
Matthew Farrar chose to punish his daughter, who is 7 years old, for “lying and talking back” by spanking her with a belt. Farrar’s girlfriend, J. Jenson, told Lakewood Police offers that Farrar hit the child on the buttocks approximately 13 times.
According to the criminal complaint, embedded above, Jenson thought Farrar was hitting the child overly hard. She said he used “too many strikes” and that the spanking was “way overboard.” Jenson added that the little girl was screaming “bloody murder” during the spanking.
Farrar later told police that he remembered spanking his daughter roughly 8 times with the belt, not 13. The affidavit quotes him saying, “I think it could have been a little too much.”
2. Police: Farrar is Accused of Waterboarding His Daughter in the Bathroom
The punishment was far from over once Farrar was done spanking the child. Jenson told police she followed Farrar as he dragged his daughter into the bathroom. Jenson explained that Farrar grabbed a red-colored wash towel and doused it with water.
Farrar allegedly had his daughter bend over the bathtub and held the towel over the child’s mouth and nose. Jenson said Farrar then poured water onto the hand towel, which caused the little girl to gag and gasp for air. Jenson said Farrar poured the water for about 15 to 20 seconds. He stopped after the child yelled, “I can’t breath.” Farrar allegedly told the child, “That’s the point, shut up before the neighbors hear.”
Farrar tells a slightly different version of the story. He admitted to pouring water on his daughter’s face but said he stopped after only about 3 seconds. Farrar told police he stopped when his daughter yelled, “I don’t want to die.” Police asked Farrar where he had learned that punishment and he answered, “I saw it once.” According to the criminal complaint, Farrar told police he now believed that this type of punishment was “not appropriate and he would not do it again.”
3. Farrar’s Girlfriend Left the Home With the Child & Called Police From a Convenience Store
After the child had changed out of her now-wet clothing, Ms. Jenson decided to take the little girl and leave the house. She told police that she “believed they were no longer safe.” They went to a nearby 7/11 convenience store, where Jenson called 911.
Lakewood Police officers responded to the store, which was where they interviewed Jenson and the child. According to the complaint, the child told officers that she had gotten into trouble and that “her dad spanked her a lot and put a towel over her face and poured water all over her face.” She explained that the water scared her and that she had struggled to breathe.
Emergency responders inspected the girl’s buttocks and legs and saw “clearly visible bruises.” She did not appear to have water in her lungs but further tests were run to determine that she was ok.
The child’s biological mother was called to pick up her daughter.
4. Matt Farrar Was Arrested & Charged With Two Felony Counts
Matt Farrar was arrested after he made his way to the convenience store. He was booked into the Pierce County Jail on May 12 and bond was set at $50,000.
He faces two felony charges: Assault of a Child in the Second Degree and Assault of a Child in the Third Degree. The first charge appears to correlate with the alleged waterboarding. According to the charging document, a person can be convicted if they are found to have caused the child “physical pain or agony that is equivalent to that produced by torture.”
The assault in the second degree appears to be about the spanking with the belt. The document includes that Farrar is accused of causing “bodily harm to C.F., by means of a weapon or other instrument or thing likely to produce bodily harm.”
5. Matthew Farrar Works as a Truck Driver & is a Lakewood, Washington Native
Matthew Farrar is originally from Lakewood, Washington. It is located in Pierce County about 45 miles south of Seattle. According to his Facebook page, Farrar graduated from Clover Park High School in 2009.
Farrar wrote on Facebook that he is currently employed as a driver with Freight Northwest. He previously worked for FedEx in Great Falls, Montana and for K&K Trucking. His profile includes several photos of his daughter.
Farrar has been engaged to his girlfriend since May of 2018. She was named in the affidavit as J. Jenson. But their engagement may be in question following his arrest; her Facebook page states that her relationship status is “complicated.”