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Author facing charges for child cruelty
on 10 August 2012
A paediatrician has been arrested over claims he disciplined his 11-year-old daughter by waterboarding her.
Melvin Morse, 58, a doctor known for his research into near-death experiences of children, is accused of subjecting the girl to the simulated drowning technique more typically associated with the interrogation of terrorist suspects.
He and his wife Pauline Morse, 40, were arrested at their home in Georgetown, Delaware, on Tuesday on charges of endangering the welfare of a child, reckless endangerment and conspiracy.
The paediatrician, who was held in lieu of $14,500 (£9,261) 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 arrest, saw some of the punishment but did not stop it.
Police learned of the alleged waterboarding earlier this week when they spoke with the girl about a separate incident.
The Morse family drove home on 16 July and the 11-year-old refused to get out of the car for an unknown reason. Melvin 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 neighbour'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 on Monday, she told them that 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 and her 6-year-old sister. Both girls were placed in care.
Melvin Morse, who heads the Institute for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, had appeared on television on Oprah, Good Morning America and Larry King Live. He is also the author of a book called Closer to the Light.
On his website, he wrote about his research into near-death experiences, particularly those involving children.