Del. yanks license of doctor charged in ‘waterboarding’

Melvin Morse
Melvin Morse
Posted: August 11, 2012

Delaware state officials yesterday suspended the license of an internationally-known pediatrician accused of "waterboarding" his 11-year-old daughter.

Melvin Morse, 58, poses a "clear and immediate danger to the public health," declared a filing published on the website of the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline.

Morse, who has written several best-sellers about near-death experiences and appeared on numerous TV talk shows, was arrested Tuesday at his Georgetown home after his daughter told investigators Morse waterboarded her as a punishment.

Waterboarding is the practice of causing a person to feel as if they are drowning. Used as a form of torture, waterboarding was banned in the U.S. in 2009.

According to a July police report, Morse dragged his daughter by her ankle across a gravel driveway as the girl's little sister watched, then spanked her inside the family house.

Investigators were questioning the girl about that alleged assault when she claimed her father had "waterboarded" her four times, holding her face under a faucet and forcing water up her nose.

The 11-year-old said her father told her "she could go five minutes without brain damage," according to a report on DelawareOnline.com

"It's b.s.," said Morse's attorney, Joe Hurley, today questioning the girl's ability to tell the truth.

Hurley said that outside the Morse family, no one witnessed the alleged assault or the alleged waterboarding.

"She made a false statement in the past," Hurley said. "In '08 or '09, she complained to her parents that she been the victim of physical abuse by another family member. They, being Dr. Morse and his wife, reported it to the authorities. As a result the family member was arrested and held."

"Prior to the trial, two days or two weeks, there was a reinterview where she admitted it had not happened," Hurley said. "And she was asked about her motivation and she said she didn't want that family member living in the house."

Morse, who was being held this morning on $14,500 bail, is charged with four felony counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

On Morse's Facebook page, many of his friends and family expressed sympathy and outrage at his arrest.

"It is shameful how the media and Facebook is twisting this story," wrote one friend. "I urge people to get their facts straight and pray before they type."


Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or samwood@phillynews.com.

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