The Delaware State Police have arrested a pediatrician and his wife after their 11-year-old daughter accused her father of waterboarding her as her mother stood by and watched.
Dr. Melvin Morse, 58, and Pauline Morse, 40, are facing abuse charges stemming from alleged incidents against their two daughters, ages 5 and 11.
Police learned of the alleged waterboarding July 12 when a neighbor called about a domestic dispute at the family’s Georgetown home.
According to the neighbor, Dr. Morse grabbed his 11-year-old by her ankle and dragged her across a gravel driveway. Once police arrived, Morse was arrested and charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of third-degree assault. He was later released after posting $750 secured bail.
WBOC reports that on August 6, the 11-year-old Morse girl was brought to the Child Advocacy Center where she was interviewed.
According to police reports, the girl informed detectives that over the course of a two-year period, beginning in May 2009, she was disciplined by her father by what he called waterboarding. Police said this act was performed on her by her father holding her face under a running faucet, causing the water to go up her nose and all over her face.
DelawareOnline.com reports the child said her father told her once he “was going to wrap her in a blanket and do it so that she could not move.” Another time she said he told her she “could go five minutes without brain damage.” The child told investigators she never knew what she had done to deserve such a punishment.
“Melvin would sometimes look away while he did it and [the girl] would become afraid that he would lose track of time and she would die,” police wrote in court documents.
This form of punishment was used on her no less than four different occasions, investigators said. Pauline Morse allegedly witnessed several of the punishment sessions but did nothing to help, police added.
Fox News reports that Dr. Melvin Morse was re-arrested on August 7 and now faces seven counts of reckless endangerment, child endangerment, and conspiracy. He remains in jail on $14,500 bail.
Pauline Morse faces the same seven counts but has been released on a bond of the same amount.
The two girls are in the care of the state Division of Family Services, Delaware Online reports.
WBOC has more information on Dr. Melvin Morse’s waterboarding case in the video below: