Del. pediatrician guilty in girl's waterboarding
GEORGETOWN, Del. — A jury convicted a pediatrician on Thursday of waterboarding his companion's daughter by holding the child's head under a faucet.
The jury deliberated for about six hours before returning its verdict against Melvin Morse, 60.
Morse was charged with three felonies — two for alleged waterboarding and one for alleged suffocation by hand. He was convicted of one felony — waterboarding in the bathtub — and five misdemeanors. Jurors reduced the second waterboarding charge to a misdemeanor and acquitted Morse of the suffocation charge.
Morse did not show any immediate reaction after the verdict. He was ordered to surrender his passport, but he will remain out on bail until his sentencing hearing, set for April 11.
Morse awaits a maximum of 10 years in prison, but a lesser sentence is likely. Under state sentencing guidelines, each misdemeanor carries a maximum of ayear in prison, and often probation, and a felony charge typically carries 15 months.
Prosecutor Melanie Withers said she was “very gratified” by the verdict and that she was on her way to speak with the victim. Morse referred questions to his lead defense attorney, Joseph Hurley, who said he planned to appeal.
Hurley criticized a decision by the judge to allow jurors to see video interviews that the victim and her sister gave to authorities in August 2012. He said the unsworn statements improperly prejudiced the jury.
During the trial, defense attorneys argued that “waterboarding” was a term jokingly used to describe hair washing that the girl did not like.
Morse was charged with endangerment and assault when the girl ran away in July 2012 and told authorities of waterboarding and other abuse.
Morse, whose medical license was suspended after his arrest, has written several books and articles on paranormal science and near-death experiences involving children. He has appeared on shows such as “Larry King Live” and the “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to discuss his research, which has been featured on an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries” and in an article in “Rolling Stone” magazine. Morse denied police claims that he may have been experimenting on the girl.
The girl's mother, Pauline Morse, 41, pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanor endangerment charges and testified against Melvin Morse.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Federal statistics raise red flags about America’s growing diabetes crisis
- White House denies threats to kidnapped Americans’ families
- Battle against Islamic State puts spotlight on Defense spending
- Hurdles for Obama health care law in 2nd sign-up season
- Wealth gap puts squeeze on state revenue
- Kids’ poisonings linked to anti-addiction medicine
- California wildfire 20 percent contained
- Detroit police officer faces 2nd trial in 7-year-old girl’s death
- Investigation slated in death at gas pipeline off Louisiana coast
- Secrecy continues to shroud killings by border agents
- Measles exposure possible in Seattle airport