Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

Former pediatrician convicted of waterboarding

GEORGETOWN, Del. — A pediatrician known for his research on paranormal science and near-death experiences involving children was convicted Thursday of waterboarding the daughter of his longtime companion by holding her head under a faucet.

The jury deliberated 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.

Morse showed no reaction as the verdict was read. He was ordered to surrender his passport and will remain out on bail until his sentencing, set for April 11.

Morse faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, but a lesser punishment is likely under state sentencing guidelines.

Prosecutor Melanie Withers said she was "very gratified" by the verdict and that she was on her way to speak with the victim, now 12 years old.

Morse declined to comment and referred questions to his attorneys. Morse's lead defense attorney, Joseph Hurley, said he planned to appeal.

The girl and her mother, Pauline Morse, testified that Melvin Morse used waterboarding as a threat or form of punishment. Waterboarding has been used in the past by U.S. interrogators on terror suspects to simulate drowning. Many critics call it torture.

Pauline Morse pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanor endangerment charges and testified against Melvin Morse.

Morse, whose medical license was suspended after his arrest, denied police claims that he may have been experimenting on the girl.

The girl and her younger sister remain in foster care.

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