A pediatrician who is an eminent researcher in near-death experiences in children has been accused of 'waterboarding' his 11-year-old daughter as punishment while his wife stood by and watched.
Dr Melvin Morse, a published author who has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King, allegedly held the girl's face under a running faucet on four occasions for as long as five minutes. Authorities were alerted to the alleged abuse at the Sussex, Delaware home after a neighbor called police to say Morse had dragged the girl by her ankles across their driveway and spanked her.
Officials arrested Morse, 58, after the incident on July 12 but he was released on $750 bail. On August 6, the girl was interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center and talked about a punishment her father called 'waterboarding', the Delaware State Police told The News Journal in Delaware.
She said he held her under faucets in the kitchen, bathroom and bathtub so the water would shoot up her nose, in a known torture tactic that simulates the sensation of drowning.
Her mother, Pauline Morse, 40, watched but did nothing to help, she said.
Waterboarding is a form of torture in which water is poured over someone's face, simulating the sensation of drowning. A cloth is often placed over the captive's face so their breathing is restricted for up to 40 seconds as water is continually poured onto them.
It dates back to the Spanish Inquisition, when it was a preferred interrogation technique as it leaves no marks on the person's body.
The practice can cause extreme pain and distress, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, long-lasting psychological damage and death. It can also cause broken bones as the captive attempts to escape.
After the alleged torture, she would 'go outside and cry', but Morse would come outside and hold her nose and mouth with his hand, according to court documents.
'He would tell her she was lucky he did not use duct tape,' police noted. 'He would not let go until she lost feeling and collapsed to the ground.'