A Delaware doctor and his wife were arrested this week after their daughter told authorities that she was punished by “waterboarding,” police said.
The 11-year-old girl told police that her father, pediatrician Melvin Morse, would hold her face under a running faucet causing the water to shoot up her nose, the Delaware State Police said. The punishments happened at least four times over a two-year period and the girl’s mother, Pauline Morse, witnessed some of them and did nothing, police said.
Morse specializes in near-death experiences in children and wrote a book about the subject called “Closer to the Light” in 1991.
The girl said her father said “she could go five minutes without brain damage,” the newspaper reported, citing court documents.
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Besides this HORRIFIC abuse, this story has a sick, other side. Was Morse doing this to further his research into near death experiences?
Possibly. The allegations may point to that, says Ben Radford at Discovery News
A reason for the crime has not been revealed, but details of the allegations suggest a chilling motive: Morse may have been trying to torture his daughter into her own near-death experience.
News reports have focused on the allegation of Morse’s waterboarding as torture — which it certainly is — but it may have simply a means to an end: not to punish his daughter for bad behavior, but instead to deprive her of oxygen without killing her.
Details like these suggest that that Morse was attempting to induce oxygen deprivation in his daughter, which is a common mechanism for creating near-death experiences.
UPDATE (10-Aug-2012) A Washington Post article describes other facets of this case:
An attorney for Dr. Melvin Morse described the waterboarding description as an “attention-getter” by authorities, based on an allegation from an 11-year-old who had made a false abuse claim against a family member before.
Hurley, the attorney, said the 11-year-old has some “opposition issues” and had complained to her parents several years ago about being abused by a half-sibling. He said the parents contacted authorities and the half-sibling was arrested, but that the girl confessed months later that the incident never happened and that she just didn’t want the half-sibling living in the house.
On the same day he was arrested on child endangerment charges July 13, Morse also was charged with terroristic threatening after allegedly threatening in May to kill a 65-year-old man. Hurley said he was told by a deputy attorney general that the terroristic threatening charge, which prosecutors dropped a week after it was filed, involved a New Castle County attorney.