The 11-year-old daughter of a Georgetown, Delaware pediatrician accused him this week of using a form of torture similar to waterboarding in order to punish her on at least four separate occasions over the course of two years.
58-year-old Melvin Morse and his wife, 40-year-old Pauline Morse, were taken into custody and charged with multiple counts of reckless endangering, endangering the welfare of a child, and felony conspiracy.
Allegations of abuse first arose on July 12th when state troopers were called to the Morses' home by a neighbor who reported that their daughter had been dragged by her ankle across the driveway and then spanked.
The subsequent questioning of the daughter led to accusations of waterboarding, which involved holding the girl's face under running water so that it filled her nostrils.
According to court documents obtained by The News Journal, Dr. Morse "would sometimes look away while he did it and...become afraid that he would lose track of time and she would die."
The 11-year-old reportedly told police she "could never understand what she did to be punished." Speaking with social workers, her 5-year-old sister said she believed she was spared the abuse "because she is too young for it."
Morse, a specialist in near-death experiences in children, penned several books on the subject and discussed his work on a number of TV shows including Larry King Live, Oprah, and 20/20.
He is currently being held in the Sussex Correctional Institution. Pauline Morse posted bail and was released. Neither is allowed to contact the two girls, who are presently in the care of Delaware's Division of Family Services.