A husband and wife from Delaware have been arrested after police were told by their daughter that she was ‘waterboarded’ as a punishment. The girl, 11, claims that her father, pediatrician Melvin Morse, would hold her head under a faucet so water would run up her nose. Police say that the punishments to the girl came four times from 2009 to 2011. The mother, Pauline Morse, saw the abuse and did not do anything to stop it or prevent it from happening again.
“The guy is a caring sensitive individual,” said Joe Hurley, the attorney for Melvin Morse. “It’s unimaginable that he would expose his child to that kind of danger. He’s very interested in caring for people. It doesn’t equate that he would do that to his own child.”
Police were sent to Morse’s home in Georgetown back in July, which is the first time they were told of the abuse. Police say that Morse’s daughter said he would grab her by the ankle, across the gravel driveway and spank her. Four days after being sent to the home, police arrested Morse and he did post bond.
Hurley claims that the Morse family was coming home from a trip when the daughter did not get out of the car. Hurley says she sat in the car for close to four hours. Hurley said that Melvin Morse picked up his daughter and carried her into the home. “There was no dragging involved,” Hurley added. The next day, the daughter went to a friend’s home and told of the incident. This is when a call was made to police about the abuse. It is still unknown as to who made the call to police.
On Monday, the police officers conducted a follow-up interview with the daughter. During the follow-up interview, the daughter said that her father ‘waterboarded’ her as punishment. Police said that she used that term on her own. The couple was taken into custody by police on Tuesday and they are facing charges of conspiracy, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child.
Melvin Morse is now being held on bail of $14,500. Pauline Morse was released after posting a similar bail. The couple has been ordered not to have any contact with their daughter or their other child, a 5-year-old girl. Both children are being held in protective custody right now. On Wednesday of this week, the Delaware Department of Justice filed an emergency petition that would have the medical license of Melvin Morse suspended.