A Delaware pediatrician who wrote a book about children’s near-death experiences has been accused of using water torture on his own 11-year-old daughter while the girl’s mother watched and did nothing.
In July, a neighbor contacted Delaware State Police after pediatrician Melvin Morse was allegedly seen dragging the 11-year-old girl across a gravel driveway by her ankle. Morse was arrested at the time and released on $750 bond.
During an interview with detectives and social workers on Monday, the girl said that her father had been punishing her with a technique that he called “waterboarding,” according to the News Journal. Court records indicated that Morse would hold his daughter’s head under running water, allowing water to fill her nostrils and cover her face.
The girl also said that her father had threatened to “wrap her in a blanket and do it so that she could not move,” and he told her that “she could go five minutes without brain damage.”
“Melvin would sometimes look away while he did it and (redacted) would become afraid that he would lose track of time and she would die,” the court documents said.
Center for American Progress senior fellow Lawrence J. Korb told the paper that Morse had “essentially” used the same technique that the Bush administration approved for use on suspected terrorists.
“There, of course, you want people then to confess because you pull them up then you put them back down if they don’t do that,” Korb explained. “But the purpose of it is you will do anything to stop it because it’s so horrible.”
“Psychologically, it could have lasting damage on this poor kid.”
The girl also said that she would go outside to cry after the torture, but Morse would find her and “hold her nose and mouth with his hand” until she “she lost feeling and collapsed to the ground.”
Both Morse and his wife, Pauline Morse, were arrested this week on charges of reckless endangerment, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child. Pauline Morse was released on $14,500 bond Melvin Morse is being held in lieu of $14,500 bond.
Both have been ordered not to have any contact with the 11-year-old daughter or their other 5-year-old daughter. The two girls are in the custody of Division of Family Services.
Melvin Morse is the author of “Closer to the Light” and “Transformed by the Light,” both of which recount the experiences of children who had been declared clinically dead. He has been featured as an expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live and John Stossel’s ABC News special The Power of Belief.
Watch this video from HLN’s Nancy Grace, broadcast Aug. 9, 2012.