US pediatrician accused of waterboarding daughter

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 11 2012 08:12 AM | Updated as of Aug 11 2012 04:12 PM

WASHINGTON - A pediatrician in the northeastern US state of Delaware has been arrested after his 11-year-old daughter accused him of waterboarding her, a police source said Friday.

State medical authorities temporarily suspended Melvin Morse -- who has appeared several times on US television after publishing books on the near-death experiences of children -- for "clear and immediate danger to the public health."

Morse's daughter told authorities on Thursday that her father had held her face under flowing tap water, simulating drowning, four times between 2009 and 2011, saying her mother was sometimes present but did nothing to stop it.

Waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning used by US interrogators on terror suspects in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, has been denounced by rights groups as a form of torture.

The child was questioned by police after an incident in July, when Morse allegedly grabbed his daughter by the ankle and dragged her across the driveway of their home, then took her into the house and spanked her.

Police have accused the couple of endangering their children. Melvin Morse was detained and his wife released on warning. Another six-year-old daughter is in the custody of social services.

Morse's attorney Joe Hurley declined to comment on the case, saying he had not yet met his client. The physician must appear in court next week, he said, without elaborating.

Morse's website,, includes articles on "spiritual neuroscience" and videos about near-death experiences and purported communication from beyond the grave.

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