NDE Researcher Dr. Melvin Morse Sentenced To Three Years For Child Endangerment (Updated)

NDE Researcher Dr. Melvin Morse Sentenced To Three Years For Child Endangerment (Updated)

May 04

Dr. Melvin Morse and his lawyer, Joe Hurley, outside the courthouse in Georgetown on Aug. 16, 2012.



Peter Roth Interviews Dr. Melvin Morse (May 3, 2019) Download Interview (mp3)


“The message that these children were telling me [children who had near-death experiences] is that we’re here for a reason. This reality is a school and we’re here to learn lessons of love. I lectured on this. I told people this… I felt that I was just so filled with wisdom and helping grieving parents and all of this. And yet, in my personal life, things were really deteriorating and I did not learn my lessons of love. To make a long story short, I did this myself, I created a very toxic, ugly environment in my personal life and this resulted in my step daughter making false accusations against me. These accusations resulted in my being convicted of child endangerment. It was very dramatic. Headlines all over the country. Pediatrician waterboards his step daughter. At first, I couldn’t believe that people really took that seriously because oddly enough, I was never accused of waterboarding her. But I was convicted and I spent two years in prison. I went through the experience of feeling that I had lost everything. Lost my family. Lost my reputation, my license to practice medicine. All of these things — this is who I thought I was. And yet I discovered something even more than that. I discovered a relationship that I finally developed with this God — that’s what kids call It, so I’m going to call It God, virtually all the children that I resuscitated told me that they saw God — not a Higher Power, not all the different names we have for God. And I learned my lessons of love. I learned them in prison. I was humbled. My ego destroyed. I learned astonishing lessons of love. And I couldn’t have learned them any other way.”

Delaware Doctor Receives Three Years In Prison For Waterboarding 12-Year-Old Girl (04/13/14 – NY Daily News)
• Pediatrician Convicted Of Waterboarding Girl (02/13/14 – AP)
• Trial Of Delaware Doctor Accused Of Abusing Stepdaughter Goes To Jury (02/12/14 – Reuters)
• Pediatrician Accused Of Waterboarding Stepdaughter Says She ‘Got Defiant’ After She Was ‘Sexually Abused’ (02/11/14 – Daily Mail)
• Prosecution Rests In Trial For Pediatrician Accused Of ‘Waterboarding’ His Stepdaughter, Age 12 (02/10/14 – PennLive)
• Victim Takes Stand In Waterboarding Trial (02/07/14 – CapeGazette)
• Delaware Doctor Denied Stepdaughter Food, Bathroom Use: Mother (02/06/14 – Reuters)
• Girl Allegedly ‘Waterboarded’ By Melvin Morse, Mother’s Boyfriend, Testifies In Court (02/03/14 – AP)
• Delaware Doctor, Author Made Stepdaughter Fear For Life (02/03/14 – Reuters)
• Delaware Doctor Accused of Waterboarding Stepdaughter Goes on Trial (01/28/14 – CNews)
• Prosecutor: Former Doctor Accused of ‘Waterboarding’ 11-Year-Old Girl Terrorized Her for Years (01/28/14 – AP)



Melvin Morse Website
Melvin Morse Website (Maintained By Cody Morse, the son of Melvin Morse)
Arrest & Trial Records
Wikipedia on Melvin L. Morse
• Dr. Melvin Morse Website
• Spiritual Scientific Website
• Dr. Melvin Morse on Near-Death.com
• Dr. Melvin Morse on Facebook
• Dr. Melvin Morse on YouTube


By Joel Landau
New York Daily News
April 13, 2014

Original Link

Dr. Melvin Morse has been sentenced to three years in prison for his severe punishments of his wife’s young daughter.

A Delaware pediatrician will serve three years in prison for waterboarding his 12-year-old step daughter as an act of punishment.

Melvin Morse, 60, a celebrity doctor who has appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and other television shows, was sentenced Friday and will also serve two years of probation when he is released.

In the courtroom Morse apologized to the daughter of his longtime companion.

“I am so sorry. I am so sorry,” he told her. “None of this is your fault … and I hope that one day you can forgive me.”

A jury convicted Morse in February of one count of waterboarding in the bathtub — and five misdemeanors. Prosecutors said he would force the girl under a running faucet and would threaten the punishment to the girl.

Morse argued the term was made in a joking manner and that it may have been part of an experiment. But the jury rejected that argument.

In May, his wife Pauline Morse pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and agreed to testify against Morse. The girl is currently under foster care.

The arrest happened after the girl fled her home to a classmate’s house in July 2012 after authorities said Morse spanked her and dragged her across the driveway by her ankle.

The girl then told police about the waterboarding.

Authorities said additional abuse included forcing the girl to stand with her arms outstretched for hours at a time, confining her to her room and depriving her of food or force-feeding her.

The girl said she was water boarded for vomiting into a cat’s litter box after being forced to drink too much milk.

She celebrated after the sentence was handed down.

A therapist read a letter in court that the victim had written asking for jail time for the doctor.

“He needs to feel what it’s like to be a prisoner,” the letter read. “I was a prisoner at home with him.”

Morse asked for leniency stating he has prostate cancer and also will need thyroid surgery.


Dr. Melvin Morse Facebook Updates

February 15, 2014

“As I still face sentencing, the quest to be reunited with my daughter Melody, and my appeals, I have no comment on the trial. However, Randall Chase of the Associated Press did a good job of describing the events in the Court Room. I will point out that I was charged with five felony counts of child endangerment. Two of these were dropped, I was aquited on two and convicted of one. Contrary to press reports, I was acquited of the charges related to “waterboarding”. I am moving on with my life in a positive manner and am glad to have put this trial behind me. We are here to learn lessons of love and I am learning from all I experience. I am humble before the Universe and what (god) has to teach me.” Source

“Again, letters of support, character references or comments on what I may have done positively with my life, to assist the Judge in sentencing, should be sent to Mr. Joe Hurley 1215 King Street, Wilmington Delaware 19801. The more the better, please. My attorneys Mr. Joe Hurley and Kevin Trey put in over 270 hours of trial preparation working nights and weekends, because they truly believed in me and my case. Kevin Trey collapsed from exhaustion while giving his closing statement on my behalf, that’s how hard he worked for me.” Source

February 24, 2014

“Lots of folk battling their inner demons calling me ‘the monster from hell’ or a person with two personalities, Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde. In fact, simply a tragic situation for all involved, far too common with custody battles and step children. Children who have suffered severe abuse often accuse foster parents and step-parents as part of their healing process.” Source

“My situation is challenging for everyone to understand. In fact I was acquited of the most serious “waterboarding” charges. The headlines “waterboarding doc” convicted leave out I was convicted of non waterboarding charges. My situation plays to mythical issues and archetypes, yet sensationalistic news articles have little in common with what happened in the Courtroom. Randall Chase of the AP has a balanced factual series of articles.” — Source


Associated Press
February 13, 2014

Original Link

A pediatrician known for his research on paranormal science and near-death experiences with children was convicted Thursday of waterboarding the daughter of his longtime companion by holding her 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 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. Each misdemeanor carries a maximum of one year in prison but typically results in probation. The felony reckless endangerment conviction for waterboarding carries a maximum of five years in prison but a presumptive sentence of 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, now 12 years old.

Morse declined to comment and referred questions to his attorneys.

“He maintains his innocence to this day,” said attorney John Brady.

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 a 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.

Defense attorneys argued that “waterboarding” was a term jokingly used to describe hair washing the girl did not like.

But Withers portrayed Melvin Morse as a brutal and domineering “lord and master” of his household, abusing the girl for years while her mother acquiesced in silence. Pauline Morse, 41, said she chose to ignore the abuse and was afraid of “undermining” Melvin Morse. She also testified that she did not have a close relationship with the girl for the several years that encompassed the waterboarding, and that she did not pay her much attention.

Pauline Morse pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanor endangerment charges and testified against Melvin Morse. She was not in the courtroom Thursday.

Hurley was highly critical of a decision by the judge to allow jurors to review videotaped interviews of the victim and her younger sister by authorities in August 2012. He said the unsworn statements improperly prejudiced the jury.

“The disappointment is in the court allowing the instant replay of the interviews that were the heart of the state’s evidence,” Hurley said, adding that replaying the unsworn statements left jurors with an unchallenged version of the state’s evidence fresh in their minds.

“That really is powerful evidence under the circumstances in this case,” he said. “There will be an appeal on that basis.”

Hurley said another basis for appeal is what he described as inappropriate statements made by Withers in her closing arguments, including telling the jurors that they could ask for evidence to be sent back to the jury room if they wanted to review it.

Hurley also noted that prosecutors were allowed to present photographs and other evidence of alleged abuse for which Morse was not charged, including one photograph, shown repeatedly by prosecutors, of the tearful victim with her fingers in both nostrils. Morse said he took the photograph to show the girl’s mother what he described as an act of defiance after he had slapped the child for sticking one of her fingers in her nose.

“What the prosecution was trying to do was skin him alive and tar-and-feather him with ‘he’s a cruel, bad person,” Hurley said.

Morse was charged with endangerment and assault after the girl ran away in July 2012 and told authorities of waterboarding and other abuse.

The girl fled her home and went to a classmate’s house the morning after Morse grabbed her by the ankle and dragged her across a gravel driveway into the home, where she was spanked and warned of worse punishment the next day. When investigators questioned the girl, then 11, she told them about what she called waterboarding.

Morse was convicted of misdemeanor assault and child endangerment charges for the driveway incident, which he acknowledged he could have handled better.

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 also 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.

Prosecutors argued that in addition to waterboarding, Melvin Morse subjected the girl to other abuse, including forcing her to stand with arms outstretched for hours at a time, confining her to room, where she had to use her toy box or closet as a toilet, and alternately depriving her of food or force feeding her until she vomited.

The felony conviction against Morse stems from an incident in which the girl said she was waterboarded in the bathtub as punishment for vomiting into a cat’s litter box after being forced to drink too much milk.

The girl and her younger sister remain in foster care but are allowed supervised visits with Pauline Morse. Pauline Morse admitted that she hoped her cooperation with prosecutors would bolster her chances of being reunited with her daughters. Her supervised visits with the girls were recently increased from once a week to twice a week.

“She’s optimistic and she’s moving forward,” said her public defender, Dean Johnson.


By Steve Czetli
February 7, 2014

Original Link

A 12-year-old child took the stand this week and accused her stepfather of trying to suffocate her, dumping her vomit on her head, stuffing food in her mouth, forcing her to sit in her room for hours without toilet breaks, making her stand against a wall with her arms outstretched until she could no longer hold them up and a string of other affronts.

She was animated, even fidgety as she testified, sometimes smiling and twisting in the witness chair, while her accused tormentor, Melvin Morse, sat about 30 feet away at the defense table, listening without expression.

Occasionally he would whisper a comment to Joe Hurley, his lead defense attorney, who the next day would launch an aggressive and blistering questioning of the girl in an attempt to portray her as a liar.

The trial was interrupted by frequent sidebars before Sussex County Superior Court Judge Richard Stokes. Morse sat solemnly alone at the defense table during the bench gatherings. Despite the trial’s high profile in the media, it has been only modestly attended. Testimony is expected to continue into next week.

In her testimony, the victim recounted in greater detail her version of events that led to her running away and ultimately to the charges against Morse, 60, and her mother Pauline, 41.

She said that during a visit to Grotto Pizza, Morse had become angry with her for putting her hands on an ice cream container at the front of the restaurant. He told her to go to the car.

Upon arriving home, Morse has said his stepdaughter refused to get out of the car; she says he told her to stay in the car. She said that sometime later, perhaps three hours, Morse returned to the car and grabbing an ankle, dragged her over an unpaved driveway and up four cement steps into the house. Morse says he carried her kicking and struggling and admits probably dropping her along the way.

Inside, “He dropped me on the bed and started hitting me,” she testified. The girl said he used an open hand, his fist and his elbow. After the spanking, she said he warned her that the next day, “there would be more.”

“More what?” asked Deputy Attorney General Melanie Withers.

“More pain,” testified the girl.

Not knowing what punishment to expect, the victim said, she decided to run away. She packed “essentials,” including applesauce, a couch cover, paper clips, a pen and two hearts. One of the hearts was black onyx, a gift from her mother, which she hoped would help her not miss her mother as much.

She also left two notes, one in the car and one on her bed.

“The letters said why I had gone and that I had not been kidnapped or taken because I didn’t want my mother to worry,” she testified. It read in part: “I have decided to leave…You will never see me again. Don’t worry, I will not die alone.”

Asked by Withers why she hadn’t taken her little sister, she said in the past she had carried her sister near the highway in front of their house, and her mother had told her that taking her sister that close to the road wasn’t a good idea.

She set off for one friend’s house, but got lost and instead recognized another friend’s house and went there.

“I was hoping they would adopt me into their family,” she testified. “I wasn’t going to tell them where I lived so they wouldn’t have any chance of sending me back.”

They didn’t send her back, but they did call her school bus driver and then the police.

In her testimony, the girl said scratches on her hands and legs observed and photographed at Beebe Medical Center had come from walking alongside her bike, not from her spanking the night before. Under cross-examination by Hurley, she also admitted that most of the bruises on her back did not come from her spanking.

During his cross examination, after soliciting testimony on the girl’s many specific allegations of abusive punishments, Hurley asked why, given a home filled with such scary punishments, she had not run away before? She replied in a defeated voice that she had, but she always gave up and returned home. In a more frustrated tone, she said she had also complained to friends, teachers and her principal, but no one believed her.

The girl said her treatment at the hands of her stepfather was painful, irritating and often not tied to explicit “house rules.” She testified that she often didn’t know why she was being punished. On one occasion she said Morse made her get on a table where he proceeded to sarcastically mock her as “great” and “strong.” Another time he made a sign that said “shame,” taped it to her T-shirt and took a picture of her.

The victim’s testimony included a long list of punishments that included dumping her own vomit over her head, followed by holding her head underwater in the bathtub, which she said her stepfather had referred to as waterboarding; requiring her to stand against a wall with arms extended or not, facing either against the wall or outward; and force feeding her when she wouldn’t complete a meal.

“He would just grab a gob of food and shove it in my mouth,” the girl said. She also said she had to eat out of the trash, which she explained occurred when she didn’t finish a meal and was required to go into the trash, retrieve her leftovers and eat what she had failed to consume.

“One time I didn’t flush the toilet, and he tried to put my head in the toilet to show me,” she testified.

Shd also said she was grounded, which involved lengthy stays in her room without bathroom breaks resulting in her using her toy chest or soiling herself. She said her door was lined with bells or closed with a tack to ensure she could not sneak out.

Still, the most life-threatening punishments were those involving suffocation, according to Dr. Virginia Greenbaum, Medical Director at the Child Care Center of Georgia, the prosecution’s last witness Feb 4. Greenbaum, who reviewed the records in this case, stated that when the body senses air has been shut off it initiates survival strategies that eventually lead to the windpipe closing. When water is involved, the body would tend to gasp when air resumed, often sucking in water and stifling the lung’s ability to work. Another consequence of blocking someone’s air is vomiting. If, in gasping for air, vomit is sucked into the lungs they can be damaged. Infections are another hazard.

In testimony, the girl described three punishments that could be suffocating including holding her head under a faucet in either the kitchen or bathroom sink and running water onto her face.

Asked by Withers why she called this “waterboarding” she said that’s what Morse had called it, telling her that it was used as punishment at prisons such as Alcatraz. She recalled two specific incidents that had resulted in its use: one time she shook a ketchup bottle but not over the table; on another occasion she had spilled milk.

Describing the experience, she said, “I couldn’t breathe, and I didn’t know what was happening. He brought the water down so it would go up my nose. I would kick a lot and try to scratch him.”

Asked by Withers if she ever tried to get away from him, she said, “I would run around the island in the kitchen, but he would say, ‘If you run away, it will just be worse.’”

“I tried to call for my mom so she would stop dad.”

During the waterboarding she said she couldn’t hear well. “Everything was muted,” she said. “I was scared because I thought I was going to die.”

Asked when this last occurred she guessed it was a couple of weeks before she had run away.

“Was your mom in the room when this was done to you?” asked Withers.

“Once,” the girl said.

“But she was in the house the other times?” Withers asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“And she stopped him?”

“No,” said the girl.

She also testified Morse would hold his hand over her mouth and pinch her nose.

On at least one occasion this caused her to wet herself, she said. Morse then made her wash her clothes in the sink before giving them to her mother. Although she couldn’t say exactly how many times this occurred, she said it was more than once.

On one occasion she recalled: “He was suffocating me to get me to say ‘yes’ to something. I let myself go limp. I couldn’t stand it anymore; you feel you are going to die.”

A third way he threatened to suffocate her was pulling a black trash bag over her head and squeezing the air out of it. “That didn’t work,” she said, ”I could breathe.”

Throughout almost four hours of detailed questioning by Withers, the girl appeareded resolute. When cross examination began on Tuesday, however, she maintained her composure, but let some questions from Hurley hang in the air as if they were rhetorical. His style was aggressive and dismissive, particularly as he sought and got confirmation that the witness had lied under oath in an earlier child molestation case involving the victim’s older half-sister.

Hurley asked the witness to describe an incident in 2010 when her half-sister was allowed to return to the family home for Christmas after being incarcerated for about three years for molesting the witness when she was 7. The half-sister was about 13 at the time.

Hurley asked the witness to confirm that the older half-sister had dangled the girl over the balcony by one foot, painfully pinched her in the armpit, carried a knife and threatened to kill her. The girl answered “yes” to each of these questions.

“Back in 2007 (your half sister) had done bad things to you, and you didn’t want her in the house,” said Hurley. Among the claims made then was that the older step-daughter had molested the witness, and based on those claims the older girl was taken out of the house.

On the Christmas visit in 2010, the victim again accused her half-sister of molestation, and she was again removed from the house. Hurley played a recording in which the girl convincingly and in great detail described to a child services worker how she had been molested. And again, the step-daughter was removed from the home. But under questioning, the victim admitted the allegations were untrue.

Hurley then went on to ask if it was true that the witness had told her younger sibling while they were in foster care during the past 18 months that the only way they could ever go home was if Morse went to jail.

“Yes,” the girl said.

Testimony in the case is expected to continue into next week.


By Randall Chase
Associated Press
February 3, 2014

Original Link

A girl who claims she was waterboarded by her mother’s companion, a former pediatrician, told a Delaware jury on Monday the man held her face under a running faucet several times as punishment.

Swiveling back and forth in the witness chair and smiling at times, the 12-year-old recounted how Melvin Morse, who she learned only recently was not her father, punished her in a variety of ways, including waterboarding and putting his hands over her nose and mouth.

The girl said Morse used the term waterboarding, and she was punished for spilling milk, shaking a ketchup bottle and vomiting into a cat’s litter box after being made to eat too much.

“Sometimes I think I heard him yell ‘Die!'” she said, describing the waterboarding.

Waterboarding simulates drowning and it has been used in the past by U.S. interrogators on terror suspects. Many critics call it torture.

Morse, 60, is facing endangerment and assault charges. Defense attorney Joseph Hurley told has jurors that the girl and her mother, Pauline, have told many conflicting and false stories to authorities over the years and that the waterboarding charges are unfounded.

Morse has authored 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 also has been featured on an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries” and in an article in “Rolling Stone” magazine.

He has specifically denied police claims that he may have been experimenting on the girl.

The girl testified she ran away from home in July 2012, following an incident that led to Morse’s arrest.

Morse was accused of grabbing the girl by the ankle and dragging her across a gravel driveway into the family’s home. He was arrested, and when the girl was interviewed, she told investigators that Morse also had disciplined her at least four times by waterboarding, leading to additional charges against Morse and the girl’s mother, Pauline Morse.

Pauline Morse agreed last year to plead guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment charges and to testify against Melvin Morse. Defense attorneys have suggested that Pauline is cooperating with authorities in an attempt to regain custody of the girl and her younger sister, who remain in foster care but are allowed supervised visits with their mother.

The 12-year-old girl on Monday recounted how she decided to run away the morning after the driveway incident, saying Morse had punished her that night and had warned her “there will be more.”

“I was scared he was going to hurt me…. I thought he meant, like, more pain,” she said.

Prosecutors have introduced photographs of scratches and bruises on the girl, but she said Monday that several of them came from a bicycle as she pushed it along the road when she ran away from home.

Jurors were shown four homemade videos documenting Morse’s encounters with the girl about her behavior.

In the first video, Morse repeatedly asked why she doesn’t try to “fix the damage” after she misbehaves.

“Why don’t you try to repair things when you do something wrong, sweetheart?” he calmly asked the girl.

In another video, Morse asked the girl why she couldn’t recognize that it was “a major crime” to break the rules of the house.

“Has your therapist ever told you that you have to obey your parents?” he asked the girl, who responds affirmatively.

“It kind of gets on my nerves the way he talked to me,” she testified Monday when asked about the video.

The girl also said Morse gave her antidepressants and kept a “behavior book” in which he added or subtracted points to determine her disciplinary “level.”

Level One included no television, no allowance and not being allowed to eat with the family. Level Two allowed her to eat with the family; Level Three allowed her to choose what kind of sandwich she wanted for lunch. The girl said she never made it to Level Four.

The girl also said Morse subjected her to other punishment, including being forced to stand with arms outstretched and her head against a wall, and being confined to her room without access to the bathroom, forcing her to wet herself or use her toy box as a toilet.

“I tried to stay out of his way so he wouldn’t see me and remember something and make me do stuff,” she said.

The girl also acknowledged that she twice attempted to contact Morse after his arrest, including sending him an email in December 2012.

“Are you okay. I’m okay. I accept all apologies,” she wrote.

In a voicemail, the girl told Morse she missed him.

“I was confused and I was wondering if he was feeling the same way,” she explained. “… I just kind of wanted to say hello and I miss you.”


The Associated Press
May 17, 2013

Original Link

A woman who lived with a Delaware pediatrician accused of waterboarding her 11-year-old daughter agreed Friday to plead guilty to child endangerment charges and testify against him.

In accepting a plea offer from prosecutors, Pauline Morse agreed to plead guilty to three misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child and to cooperate with prosecutors and testify against Dr. Melvin Morse.

Melvin Morse, 59, has written a best-selling book and achieved national recognition for his research into near-death experiences involving children. Police suggested in an affidavit that he may have been experimenting on the girl last year, a claim he denies.

A trial for Melvin Morse is scheduled to start June 10. Morse and his attorney, Joe Hurley, did not immediately return telephone messages seeking comment Friday.

A spokesman for the attorney general’s office had no immediate comment.

Pauline Morse, 41, was scheduled to formally enter her plea at a court hearing Monday in Georgetown. Sentencing guidelines call for up to a year in prison, suspended for up to 1 year of probation, and a fine of up to $2,300.

The couple lived together as husband and wife, even though they were divorced several years ago. The 11-year-old girl was Pauline Morse’s daughter from a previous relationship, even though Morse has claimed in the past that he is her father.

The allegations of waterboarding surfaced after Melvin Morse was accused of grabbing the 11-year-old by the ankle last July and, as her 6-year-old sister watched, dragging her across a gravel driveway. He was arrested on misdemeanor endangerment and assault charges and released on bail.

The charges were revised after the older girl told investigators that Melvin Morse also had disciplined her by holding her face under a running faucet at least four times since 2009, a punishment she said he called “waterboarding.”

Waterboarding simulates drowning and has been used in the past by U.S. interrogators on terrorism suspects. Many critics call it torture.

Police said Pauline Morse, who was initially charged with felony endangerment and conspiracy, witnessed the “waterboarding” and did nothing to stop it. Her two daughters were taken into state custody, but she has been allowed visitation and is working to try to regain custody of them.

“My client’s main objective is getting the children back,” said Dean Johnson, a public defender representing Pauline Morse. “She’s not going to get them back until these matters are resolved. She needs to get this behind her.”

Johnson said Pauline Morse has “totally changed” compared to when he first met her. He said she has grown from “somewhat of a ‘Sad Sack’ personality” who was easily manipulated by others into a more self-confident person able to make decisions on her own.

“She has independence of thought… whereas before Melvin made the decisions and she went along,” he said.

Following his arrest Melvin Morse, whose medical license has been suspended, was charged with conspiracy and five felony counts of endangerment. Prosecutors later dropped the conspiracy charge, which involved Pauline Morse, but added four new endangering counts and one count of misdemeanor assault.


By Nastacia Leshchinskaya
January 23, 2013 2:39 PM

Original Link

When news broke that near-death experience expert Dr. Melvin Morse had been arrested for allegedly waterboarding his stepdaughter, most dismissed him as just another kook who’d been accused of doing a terrible thing. But to those in the parapsychology community, the charges against Morse came as a great shock. Morse has done extensive research on the near-death experience phenomenon, especially in children. He has written several books on the subject, including Closer to the Light in which he interviews hundreds of children who were declared clinically dead but returned to life.

Some background on the case: Morse was arrested in July 12, 2012 after neighbors called 911 to report an alleged incident in which Delaware state police say he dragged the girl by her ankle across a gravel driveway and into the house, where he spanked her. During an interview with social services Monday, the girl said that Morse had repeatedly punished her by holding her face under a running faucet, causing water to fill her nostrils, in a process he called “waterboarding.” The girl also told authorities that she didn’t understand what she had done wrong, and that Morse once told her that “she could go five minutes without brain damage.” According to police documents Morse also held his hand over her nose and mouth and told her ”she was lucky he did not use duct tape.” Morse and his wife Pauline were both arrested and released on bail. Pauline Morse is allowed contact with her children; Dr. Morse is not. He pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and endangerment in November.

Since the arrest, Dr. Morse has been a topic of conversation on the Parapsychology and Alternative Medicine Forum, where many, it seems, are reluctant to let the accusations against Morse affect their view of his work. One user writes, “Many brilliant thinkers have acted (to me) in unacceptable ways, but it does not detract from their brilliance. Only from their ability to live a (certain type of) moral life,” and another quickly chimes in: “Yeah, I agree with this. He may be a terrible person or not but his work stands on its own merits.”

One user’s opinion that in light of the accusations, Morses work is tainted, is quickly met with a terse retort: “This will taint Morse to those who are incapable of separating the bad of the man and his good works.” A few others mention meeting Morse at conferences and remembering him as a “nice” and “really mellow guy.” Another implies that the stepdaughter may be lying: “…don’t forget that some children are capable of making one’s blood boil. If that repeats itself over and over again, it is no wonder that even the nicest people may lose their temper.”

The type of misbehavior of which Morse is accused isn’t discussed until much later in the thread. If he had been accused of having an affair or committing tax fraud, his followers retaining a respect for his work wouldn’t seem as outlandish. However, Morse is accused of essentially attempting to induce a near-death experience–the very phenomenon he has dedicated his work to–on a child. Still, a fan wrote, “Morse punishing his daughter by having the faucet running over her face and Morse trying to simulate an NDE in his child are two things. He can’t have been doing both at the same time!” adding that the accusations, if true, amount to “abusive behavior.”

In another thread, users draw comparisons to Mother Theresa and Hitler, asking if Mein Kampf stands on its own merit in light of Hitler’s bad acts, and if the beatified nun’s contributions would be worth any less if she were a serial killer. To accurately assess the merit of Morse’s work in light of the allegations against him, the question must be answered: Was Morse actually trying to induce a near-death experience on his stepdaughter?

Perhaps, as some users on the forum proposed, the good doctor has gone mad. His website, SpiritualScientific.com, with its rambling and cluttered text, is in accord with that theory. Morse, in the pursuit of enlightenment through near-death experience, seems to have lost grip on much in his life. In the conclusion of a breathless article titled My Life a Love Story, which was removed from the site following his arrest, Morse wrote “In my personal life, I have fought custody battles, and tried to pull my children close to me, only to see them torn apart by the process. My heart is broken. I love the crying woman, and our children, but know I love them with a heart that can no longer love. I only have my Big Idea, and my obligation to the crying people who have lost children.”



By Randall Chase
Associated Press
November 30, 2012

Original Link

The attorney for a Delaware pediatrician accused of waterboarding his 11-year-old stepdaughter says there’s no need for a quick trial.

Attorney Joe Hurley says he needs time to review materials provided by prosecutors and to schedule a psychological exam for Dr. Melvin Morse. Hurley also said in court papers filed this week that the emotion and publicity surrounding Morse’s August arrest should be allowed to subside.

Hurley, who suggests a trial no sooner than April, also is seeking court approval for Morse to have supervised visits with his children.

A hearing on those motions is scheduled for next Friday.

Morse, who has researched near-death experiences involving children, has pleaded not guilty to child endangerment and assault charges. He denies police claims he may have been experimenting on his stepdaughter.


November 12, 2012

Original Link

Georgetown pediatrician Melvin Morse, accused of waterboarding his 11-year-old stepdaughter, pleaded not guilty to assault and child endangerment charges.

State prosecutor Kathleen M. Jennings said Morse, charged in August, was arraigned, entered his plea and is “moving on to the next step,” Superior Court trial in Georgetown.

Morse’s trial date has not yet been announced.

Jennings said the state has assigned prosecutor Melanie Withers to handle the case.

Morse is represented by Joe Hurley, who calls himself “Delaware’s best-known criminal defense attorney.”

According to court documents, the girl told police Morse did what he called “waterboarding,” holding her face under running water, once saying she “could go five minutes without brain damage.”

The case made national news, following that of former Lewes pediatrician Earl Bradley, subsequently convicted of sexually assaulting many of his young patients, for which he was sentenced to multiple consecutive life terms in prison.

Morse was widely known for his best-selling book on his research of children’s near-death experiences.

He had appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “20/20” and other television programs to discuss his research.

Police had suggested in an affidavit that he may have been experimenting on the girl, which he denies.

Hurley has said he believes the girl has either exaggerated or made up the story.

She and another daughter were placed in state care after his arrest, but Hurley earlier said their mother, Pauline Morse, is trying to regain custody.

Hurley and Morse could not be reached for comment.


By Sean O’Sullivan
Delaware Online
August 16, 2012

Original Link

Court papers from the state of Washington raise doubts about whether pediatrician Melvin L. Morse – who, with his wife, is facing reckless endangerment charges for allegedly “waterboarding” their daughter – should have been practicing medicine in Delaware.

Those documents and other sources paint a picture of an eccentric man who has been given to erratic behavior in recent years, making charges against his former wife and her attorney, even threatening to kill himself on the steps of a Washington state courthouse.

Morse “is a complete nightmare for just about anyone that encounters him,” said Washington attorney Jason Benjamin, who represented the ex-wife, Allison Morse.

“I think he needs real psychological help,” Allison Morse said, adding she “lost everything,” including her business and home, during an acrimonious 10-year battle with her former husband over custody and child support.

Morse and his wife Pauline are set to appear in Sussex County Court of Common Pleas today for a preliminary hearing on the reckless endangering charges. Attorney Joe Hurley said he planned to ask that an order that his client, Melvin, have no contact with his “longtime companion” Pauline be lifted.

Public Defender Dean Johnson, who is representing Pauline, said he would oppose the move.

Morse, 58, was a prominent media figure during his 20-year pediatric career in Washington state, authoring several books dealing with spirituality and near-death experiences of children. He made a number of TV appearances on programs such as “Larry King Live” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Police were originally called to the Morses home on July 13, and charged Morse with assault, saying he dragged his 11-year-old daughter by the ankle across his gravel driveway. When they did a follow-up interview with the child, she told them that at least four times she had been subjected to what her father called “waterboarding.”


Dr. Melvin Morse, left, and attorney Joe Hurley outside the Sussex County Courthouse.


At least initially, when state police sought a search warrant for Morse’s Georgetown-area home last week, investigators suspected that the alleged waterboarding may have been related to “the area of study he [Morse] practices” with near-death experiences.

Morse moved to Delaware around 2006 and, according to state medical officials, was given a license to practice in the state in February 2007.

But according to papers filed in Washington state, Morse stipulated in March 2008 that he had been diagnosed with a “debilitating strain of hepatitis C” that “made it impossible for him to practice medicine” and that he was “one hundred percent disabled.”

In a subsequent 2009 letter to the Pierce County Court in Washington, Morse stated that a side effect of his treatment caused him “ ‘brain fog,’ severe mental confusion and extreme fatigue” and that he had “a less than 5% chance of surviving my illness.”

In November 2011, Morse submitted another declaration stating: “The Medical Board of Delaware has knowledge of my medical condition and has placed restrictions on my ability to practice medicine, and has limited my practice to 1-2 days per week, if approved by my treating physician.”

Condition unknown

Christopher Portante, a spokesman for the state’s Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline, said Wednesday that officials were unaware that Morse had a debilitating condition and never placed any restrictions on his ability to practice medicine in the state.

Portante said in the application to practice in Delaware – a sworn document – Morse was specifically asked if he suffered from “any condition or impairment” that could affect his ability to practice and Morse checked the box “No.”

If any complaint had been filed, or if Morse had made any statements that he had a serious medical condition or impairment, Portante said the state would have investigated. “No such information was presented to us,” he noted.

Morse’s license was suspended last week, after criminal charges stemming from the waterboarding allegation were filed against him.

Washington state officials said that Morse had no history of disciplinary actions there. He allowed his license in that state to lapse in December 2007.

Dr. Vincent Lo Re, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, said that hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus and should not pose any danger to patients seen by an infected doctor as long as proper sanitary precautions are observed, such as wearing gloves and washing hands.

Lo Re said that the condition itself should not impair someone but he explained chemotherapy used to treat the condition could cause “brain fog.”

Morse, who has been released on bail, could not be reached for comment.

Hurley, said he was aware of his client’s medical condition but said he had no information about Morse’s interactions with state medical officials.

Hurley said it is possible that after receiving his license in 2007, Morse’s condition deteriorated in 2008 – leading to that stipulation that it was “impossible” for him to practice medicine – and the “brain fog” that Morse mentions might have been responsible for his apparent misstatement in 2011 that he had informed Delaware medical authorities.

“The other side will say he is playing loose with the truth, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Hurley said.

Hurley, however, said his client denies the criminal charges. What happened between Morse and his daughter has been “distorted and exaggerated” by police, the attorney said.

In a brief phone conversation with the Associated Press, Morse claimed that his arrest stemmed from “post-Bradley hysteria,” referring to former Lewes pediatrician Earl Bradley who was convicted and sentenced to multiple life terms last year for molesting his young patients.

‘A wacky guy’

Allison Morse said she met Morse in 1982 and married him in 1983. At that time, she said, he was “a wacky guy” who was fun and exciting to be around. “He wore fun ties to work,” she said, and used to take her children to festivals.

Allison had two children before she married Morse and the couple later adopted three more.

About 15 years into the marriage Allison said things started to turn sour. “He started to get really neurotic, just irrational and hard to deal with,” she said.

“As he became more controlling and angry, I became more distant,” she said. They divorced in 2003.

Court papers filed by Morse make a stream of nasty, sometimes libelous accusations against Allison and her attorney, Benjamin.

In one letter to the court, Morse asked the court to help him find a new attorney to take his case on charity by distributing a flier that he attached to the letter.

“Pro Bono opportunity of a Lifetime!” reads the flier, followed by “Appearing in family court … Melvin “The Destroyed” Morse MD vrs The Prancing Dark Prince of Perjury Himself Jaaaaaaayson Benjamin!”

In early 2011, Morse sent a letter that alarmed Pierce County officials, invoking the name of Josh Powell, who in February of that year killed himself and two of his children by blowing up his home in Pierce County. Powell had been involved in a custody dispute.

“Not everyone driven crazy by the Pierce County Courts is a Josh Powell,” wrote Morse in an email to the court. “I will die with grace and dignity, naturally, not assisted in any way, on the Court House steps to dramatize what the Courts … are doing to me.”

Court officials called the Delaware State Police who went to Morse’s home to question him, according to court papers and Hurley, but no charges were filed.

Hurley said Morse was guilty only of “colorful hyperbole.”

In July 2011, according to court papers, Morse was arrested in Delaware for terroristic threatening after he left an angry voice mail for a Wilmington attorney. The phone recording was: “I read the message you sent my wife Pauline and you are a dead man.” The charges, however, were later dropped.

Allison Morse said her ex-husband has a history of just “making stuff up” about people, including his children.

However, she said she doubted Morse was experimenting on his daughter and added that she was “not down for sending him to jail.” She was also ambivalent about her former husband being allowed to return to medicine.

Allison said what is important is that Morse never again be allowed to see any of her or Pauline Morse’s children.

“He can never have those children back. Never ever,” she said, adding that despite the fact Pauline is also facing charges, she believes she is “as much of a victim as the child.”

“I was a victim of his,” Allison said. “I hope she won’t go back to him.”


Associated Press
August 15, 2012

Original Link

To many people, Dr. Melvin Morse was a brilliant pediatrician at a renowned children’s hospital and a best-selling author who parlayed his research on near-death experiences into appearances on “Larry King Live” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Away from the spotlight, however, Morse was tormented by personal and financial problems and, according to court records, wrestled with depression, substance abuse and even suicidal thoughts. His latest trouble involves allegations of waterboarding his 11-year-old stepdaughter, using the simulated drowning technique to bring her to “a possible near-death state,” police have said.

Based on his work involving children’s near-death experiences, police suggested he may have been experimenting on her.

Morse, 58, was accused in July of grabbing his daughter by the ankle and dragging her across a gravel driveway. When police did a follow-up interview last week, the girl said Morse had held her face under running water at least four times since 2009, using faucets in the kitchen, bathroom sink and bathtub. Her mother, Pauline Morse, witnessed some of the waterboarding but did nothing to stop it, police said.

Both Melvin and Pauline Morse are free on bail. They face a preliminary hearing Thursday on felony endangerment and conspiracy charges.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Melvin Morse called the charges an overreaction by authorities. An attorney for Morse, Joe Hurley, said the idea that Morse was experimenting on his own daughter was “the sheerest of speculation.”

Morse began researching near-death experiences in children about three decades ago after the near drowning of one of his patients. He was fascinated by the spiritual experiences the girl, and other children, described to him, including images of light, heaven and tunnels.

He sought to prove that drugs were causing the hallucinations, though he said his research proved otherwise. In 1990, he published “Closer to the Light,” which spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He was featured in a Rolling Stone magazine story, and television shows had him on to speak about paranormal experiences.

He worked for Seattle Children’s Hospital and Seattle Magazine listed Morse among the city’s best doctors for more than a decade beginning in 1995, according to Morse’s website. But by 2007, Morse had retired from full-time medical practice and moved to Delaware. Hepatitis C that he contracted in 1998 while treating children became too much of a toll on his health for him to continue working full time and he was declared disabled, he said.

While Morse once earned a six-digit income, he has struggled financially for years and owes tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes.

“I have the most ordinary reasons for that — the collapse of my income and my first divorce,” Morse said. “I do not have an adversarial relationship with the IRS. … I’ll eventually repay my taxes.”

Morse’s financial problems are outlined in court records from a contentious divorce and custody battle with his first wife that stretched on for nearly a decade.

Morse’s ex-wife, Allison Morse, claimed her ex-husband has abused prescription drugs and made false accusations against their adopted children that have led to criminal charges against them.

“He is a pathological liar and he makes stuff up about his own children,” she told the AP.

At the same time, Allison said Morse was a good dad and never abused their three adopted children during their marriage of almost 20 years.

As the marriage began to unravel in the late 1990s, however, he became more and more emotionally unstable, she said.

“He was just angry all the time and just really had some severe emotional problems going on,” she said.

Allison said she was never able to find out why her husband was so troubled.

In 2006, Morse said in court papers he was once the subject of an inquiry by the Medical Quality Assurance Commission in Washington, which he blamed on stress from his marital problems. Morse said he accepted three months of psychiatric treatment.

In that same court filing, he denied that he had a history of multiple suicide attempts but said he made a “suicide gesture” when his marriage was falling apart by swallowing prescription pills.

In separate court filings, Morse referred to an earlier suicide attempt and being taken to an emergency room in November 2001 for “drug overdose, alcoholism, and depression.”

Morse has published several books over the years, and writings include a quasi-autobiographical story in which he describes how an imaginary falcon told him to move “quickly in the dark of night” to the East Coast, where his destiny lay and where he could find rich soil for his “BIG IDEA” to grow.

Morse, who said he uses “a lot of irony and a lot of tongue-in-cheek” expressions when he writes, told the AP his “BIG IDEA” involved a theory of consciousness based on his study of children who have suffered cardiac arrest.

“These children made it clear that consciousness persists despite having dying, dysfunctional brains,” he said. The theory is that brains are linked to “a non-local consciousness and a timeless, spaceless reality,” which Morse calls the “God Spot.”

Morse currently lives with Pauline Morse in Delaware with their two children, the 11-year-old girl and her 6-year-old sister. Their marriage was at one point dissolved, and it’s not clear if they remarried. Their children have been placed in state custody.

Just before Melvin Morse’s arrest last month, P.M.H. Atwater, a fellow researcher into near-death experiences, said she saw him at a conference in Montreal.

“He gave one of the best keynote addresses he has ever given in his life,” she said.

But when she went to hug Morse, Atwater sensed something was wrong.

“I just picked up a lot of worry, a lot of stress, a lot of problems,” she said.


By Randall Chase
August 15, 2012
Associated Press

Original Link


A Delaware pediatrician who achieved national recognition for his research into near-death experiences involving children may have been experimenting on his 11-year-old stepdaughter by waterboarding her, police said in court documents.

The possible link between Dr. Melvin Morse’s research and the waterboarding allegations was revealed in an affidavit for a search warrant for Morse’s computers. The document was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

According to the affidavit, Dr. Melvin Morse brought the girl “to a possible near death state from the simulation of drowning.”

“This ‘waterboarding’ that he has performed … would fall into the area of study he practices,” police said in the affidavit. “It is logical that he has therefore written about and/or researched the topic of ‘waterboarding.'”


By Associated Press
August 10, 2012

Original Link

An attorney for Dr. Melvin Morse described the waterboarding description as an “attention-getter” by authorities, based on an allegation from an 11-year-old who had made a false abuse claim against a family member before.

“Whatever’s being described is not waterboarding,” said Joe Hurley, who has not spoken to Morse since Tuesday’s arrests. “I think that’s an attention-getter. I’m not sure where that came from or how that developed.”…

Hurley, the attorney, said the 11-year-old has some “opposition issues” and had complained to her parents several years ago about being abused by a half-sibling. He said the parents contacted authorities and the half-sibling was arrested, but that the girl confessed months later that the incident never happened and that she just didn’t want the half-sibling living in the house…

On the same day he was arrested on child endangerment charges July 13, Morse also was charged with terroristic threatening after allegedly threatening in May to kill a 65-year-old man. Hurley said he was told by a deputy attorney general that the terroristic threatening charge, which prosecutors dropped a week after it was filed, involved a New Castle County attorney. A spokesman for the attorney general’s office declined to comment.


By Tracy Vedder & KOMO Staff
August 9, 2012

Original Link


Morse’s ex wife, Alison Morse, said on Thursday she isn’t at all surprised about the recent news. The two were married for 20 years, and most of that time was spent in Puget Sound. She said she noticed Morse changing during the last five years of the marriage.

“I just couldn’t live with him anymore,” she said. “He was just too insane and the thing with the children started escalating and he just started getting so irrational.”

Alison Morse said their were times in her marriage she feared for her own children’s safety.

“I was like a momma lion when he was trying to pull stuff with my children,” she said. “(I would say) ‘Have you lost your mind? Are you crazy? You cant treat my children like that.'”

While she wasn’t shocked to learn of Morse’s recent troubles, Alison said she was devastated by the news.

“He’s a sick man and he needs to stay where he can get some help,” she said. “I don’t think he should be around anybody’s kids.”


By Alon Harish
ABC News
August 9, 2012

Original Link


Melvin Morse’s attorney, Joe Hurley, said he did not yet know enough about the case to comment on it, but said “There is always another side to the story.”

Hurley said he was concerned that Morse would not get a fair trial because of the notorious 2010 case of Earl Bradley, also a pediatrician in Sussex County, who was convicted of molesting, raping and exploiting more than 100 of his patients, including some as young as 3-months-old. Hurley said Morse bears a striking physical resemblance to Bradley, who is thought by some to be the worst pedophile in American history and whose face was plastered all over local and regional newspapers for months during his trial.

“It was the case of the century,” Hurley said. “The chances of finding 12 people in that county who could be fair jurors for this case are non-existent.”

For those of you who may not know, Dr. Morse played a role in the Earl Bradley case. Specifically, he is reportedly the only Delaware physician who reported concerns to authorities about Bradley. You can find out more about that case by going here and here (pdf)


By Benjamin Radford
Discovery News
August 9, 2012

Original Link


A reason for the crime has not been revealed, but details of the allegations suggest a chilling motive: Morse may have been trying to torture his daughter into her own near-death experience.

News reports have focused on the allegation of Morse’s waterboarding as torture — which it certainly is — but it may have simply a means to an end: not to punish his daughter for bad behavior, but instead to deprive her of oxygen without killing her….

Was Morse trying to understand “the mysterious link between our brains and the universe” by repeatedly nearly drowning his own child? If so, it’s a dangerous and unethical experiment. Some trauma victims come back from brain injury and oxygen deprivation reporting near-death experiences; others never recover and die; and still others live with severe brain damage.

Regardless of whether the purpose was to torture or induce a near-death experience his daughter, the Morses each face two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a second-degree felony conspiracy charge, and four counts of felony first-degree reckless endangering.


By Terri Sanginiti, Esteban Parra and James Fisher
Delaware Online
August 8, 2012

Original Link

A Georgetown pediatrician and his wife are facing felony charges after their 11-year-old daughter told police her father had repeatedly subjected her to “waterboarding” while her mother stood by.

Dr. Melvin L. Morse, 58, and his 40-year-old wife Pauline, of the 20000 block of Lewes-Georgetown Highway, were each charged with four felony counts of first-degree reckless endangering, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and felony conspiracy, said state police spokesman Master Cpl. Gary Fournier.

Their children, girls ages 5 and 11, are in the care of the state Division of Family Services, state police said.

The investigation started July 12 when state troopers received a 911 call from a neighbor about a domestic dispute at the couple’s home.

The call came after the Morses’ daughter went to the neighbor after Melvin Morse reportedly grabbed her by the ankle and dragged her across a gravel driveway, Fournier said. Melvin Morse then took her inside their home and spanked her, he said.

Following the investigation, Melvin Morse — who is co-author of a book about the near-death experiences of children and was employed at a private pediatric practice in Milton — was charged July 16 with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree assault.

On Monday, the 11-year-old was interviewed by detectives and social workers. According to court documents, she told them that between May 2009 and May 2011 her father had disciplined her by what he called “waterboarding” — holding the daugther’s face under running water, causing the water to fill her nostrils and over her face.

She told police it had happened at least four times — using the kitchen sink, bathroom sink and bathtub faucet, according to court records.

The daughter told police she “could never understand what she did to be punished” and felt scared, court documents reported. Once, she said, her father told her he “was going to wrap her in a blanket and do it so that she could not move.” In another instance, she said Melvin Morse told her that “she could go five minutes without brain damage.”

“Melvin would sometimes look away while he did it and (redacted) would become afraid that he would lose track of time and she would die,” police wrote in court documents.

Lawrence J. Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who served as an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, said the process described in the court documents was the same technique decried as torture when CIA operatives and proxies used it during the global war on terrorism.

“That’s essentially what it is,” Korb said. “There, of course, you want people then to confess because you pull them up then you put them back down if they don’t do that.”

Korb said the practice can kill a person if too much water gets in his or her lungs. “But the purpose of it is you will do anything to stop it because it’s so horrible,” he said about the sensation.

It is entirely inappropriate to use on a child, he said.

“Oh yeah, for an 11-year-old that would terrify them because you can’t breathe, you don’t understand what’s going on, you don’t know what comes next,” Korb said. “Psychologically, it could have lasting damage on this poor kid.”

After her father did these things, the girl said she would “go outside and cry,” prompting Melvin Morse to come outside and then “hold her nose and mouth with his hand,” police said in court records.

“He would tell her she was lucky he did not use duct tape,” police said in the documents. “He would not let go until she lost feeling and collapsed to the ground.”

The girl’s younger sister was also interviewed and told social workers she saw this happen to her sister, but that “it has never been done to her because she is too young for it.”

The state Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday filed a motion for the emergency suspension of Morse’s medical license.

“The physician or his attorney have 24 hours to respond, and their response, along with the motion, will go to Delaware’s secretary of state and the president of the Medical Licensure and Discipline Board for review,” said Christopher Portante, spokesman for the state Division of Professional Regulation, adding that the case is being expedited.

According to the DFS, child abuse is defined as unjustified force, including actions that interfere with breathing, or “any other act that is likely to cause or does cause physical injury, disfigurement, mental distress, unnecessary degradation or substantial risk of serious physical injury or death.”

Denise Enger, coordinator of parent education services at Child Inc., a Wilmington-based group that counsels and supports abused children, said anything that humiliates or harms a child emotionally or physically is not appropriate.

Ideally, Enger said, parents should discipline, not punish children. Punishment is an external behavior, such as a spanking, aimed at stopping the behavior, she said, but it does not teach. Discipline is a guiding behavior, aimed at helping a child learn right from wrong.

Enger did not want to comment on the Morse case. But when asked if the actions described were an appropriate punishment, she said they were not.

“I cannot imagine an circumstance where they would be appropriate,” she said. “Child Inc. advocates a number of more effective parenting tools that are less harmful to children.”

Melvin Morse is being held in the Sussex Correctional Institution after failing to post a $14,500 secured bail. He was ordered to have no contact with either his wife or children.

Pauline Morse was released on a $14,500 unsecured bail and ordered to have no contact with either her husband or children. She answered the door Wednesday at the family’s home, located between Lewes and Georgetown, but declined to comment.

Melvin Morse had been working one day a week for the past 2½ years at the pediatrics practice of Dr. Lowell Scott in Milton, according Jeff Austin, a Wilmington attorney representing Scott. However, he said Morse had not been employed at the practice since May, when he asked to take the summer off to spend more time with his mother.

“Dr. Scott has no first-hand knowledge of the allegation against Dr. Morse,” Austin said, declining to comment further.

Pauline Morse’s father, Gerald DeYoung, of Sun City, Ariz., said he was pleased to hear of the arrests. “I’m just plain angry about it,” he said. “I want to make sure my granddaughters are OK.”

DeYoung said Pauline Morse has five children, three of whom are grown. The 11-year-old, he said, is Melvin Morse’s stepdaughter. DeYoung said he’s been estranged from his daughter and has never met the two youngest children.

Pauline and Melvin Morse moved to Delaware from Seattle in 2006. He is the author of “Closer to the Light” and “Transformed by the Light” that explore near-death experiences of children. He also authored “Parting Visions” that documents spiritual visions associated with death and dying.

According to a biography posted online, he has appeared in a number of television and radio shows, including “20/20” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to talk about his research.


Delaware State police photo of Dr. Melvin Morse and his wife, Pauline.

By David Moye
Huffington Post
August 8, 2012

Original Link

A Delaware pediatrician who is a recognized researcher in near-death experiences in children has been accused of holding his young daughter’s face under a faucet — an act he called waterboarding, according to officials — while the girl’s mother allegedly watched.

Officials in Georgetown, Del., arrested Dr. Melvin Morse and his wife Pauline at their home on Monday and charged them with reckless endangerment, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child.

The charges stem from a July 12 domestic assault incident in which Morse was accused of grabbing his 11-year-old daughter by the ankles and dragging her across the driveway into the house, where he then spanked her, according to WCAU-TV.

Officials arrested Morse a few days later and charged him with endangering the welfare of a child, as well as assault. After posting $750 secured bail, he was released.

Investigators said that the 11-year-old was brought to the Child Advocacy Center and interviewed on Aug. 6.

Police told WBOC-TV that during the questioning, the girl claimed that for two years beginning in May 2009, on at least four occasions, her father disciplined her in a manner he called “waterboarding,” where he held her face under a running faucet, “causing the water to go up her nose and all over her face.”

Although the victim’s mother, Pauline, reportedly saw at least some of these alleged incidents, officials tell WPVI-TV that she failed to stop her husband from performing the act.

They were both arraigned and Melvin was committed to the Sussex Correctional Institution on a $14,500 secured bond. Pauline was released on a $14,500 unsecured bond.

Both the victim and her 5-year-old sister are now in the care of Division of Family Services, police told WTXF-TV.

Morse runs an organization called the Institute for the Scientific Study of Consciousness and has been interviewed on the subject of children’s near-death experiences.



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  1. Maybe he was trying to induce a near death experience…

    • Tamsin

      Then he has completely lost the plot. Hadn’t he enough ‘real’ child NDErs to use as backup in his research? Wasn’t THAT research which made him ‘famous’? Even giving the benefit of the doubt, did he not stop to think about the damage this would do to his reputation? Get real.

  2. That thought crossed my mind, too.

  3. Rose Possien

    That was my first thought as well, I am so very shocked over this news. I met Dr. Morse many years ago during the establishment of Pediatric Interim Care Center in Kent, WA. I had once worked as medical admin. in Renton & Seattle areas, and knew many local physicians through work and Dr. Guant as my own children’s Pediatrician.
    Am very confused by all of this, I guess shocked is the better word.

  4. Batya Yasgur

    Does anyone have an update on this situation? I loved Dr. Morse’s books. They had a great impression on me. This shocked me very much, but it rang true that perhaps he was trying to experiment with inducing an NDE in his daughter.

  5. Steve

    One question always roamed my mind: if simply studying or even reading reports about NDE gives you a glimpse of the afterlife and that has such a beneficial effect on a person, why are they so rare to happen? Why it almost seems like we are forbidden to look into them?
    I think i now have at least a partial answer to that question: because thinking too much about them can make you loose contact with our ‘normal’ reality.

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