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U.S. doctor accused of waterboarding his child

  • Melvin Morse and his wife Pauline were arrested on charges of endangering the welfare of a child.

PHILADELPHIA: A doctor known for his research into near-death experiences of children was in jail Thursday on charges he disciplined his 11-year-old daughter with a simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, Delaware State Police said.

Dr. Melvin Morse, 58, and his wife Pauline Morse, 40, were arrested at their home in Georgetown, Delaware, Tuesday on charges of endangering the welfare of a child, reckless endangerment and conspiracy.

The pediatrician, who was held in lieu of $14,500 bail, was accused of waterboarding the girl four times over two years starting in May 2009. Police said she had so much water poured on her face that it would go up her nose.

They said Pauline Morse, who was released after her arrest, saw some of the punishment but did not stop it.

Police learned of the waterboarding, a controversial technique more typically associated with the interrogation of terrorism suspects, earlier this week when they spoke with the girl about a separate incident.

The Morse family drove home on July 16 and the 11-year-old refused to get out of the car for an unknown reason. Morse opened the door and dragged her by the ankles over a gravel driveway to the house, police said.

Later, the child ran to a neighbor’s house, and police were called. Morse was charged with assault and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

While the girl was being questioned by authorities Monday, she told them her father would discipline her by what he called waterboarding, police said.

After their arrest, both parents were ordered to have no contact with the 11-year-old girl and her 6-year-old sister. Both girls were placed in the care of the Division of Family Services.

Morse, who heads the Institute for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, had appeared on “Oprah,” “Good Morning America” and “Larry King Live” on CNN.

He is also the author of a book called “Closer to the Light.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 11, 2012, on page 9.
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