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Waterboarding daughter case begins trial: Melvin Morse denies abuse

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A pediatrician is accused of waterboarding his daughter repeatedly, and his trial has now started in Delaware. The StarTribune shared the latest details on the case against Melvin Morse on Jan. 28.

Morse faces charges of assault and child endangerment. He and his wife deny that they have abused the children, but prosecutors believe otherwise. Some claims are that he waterboarded his daughter, but the girl's mother, Pauline Morse, says that it was simply hair-washing. The girl, who was 11 at the time the abuse allegedly happened, says Morse repeatedly disciplined her by holding her face under running water. She says he himself called it waterboarding. She also says that Pauline saw the abuse happening but did not intervene.

The girl indicates she endured repeated incidents of abuse, and after one event where she was allegedly threatened with punishment like she'd never seen before, she ran to a neighbor's house for help. Child services has had involvement with the family for several years, apparently because the young girl had claimed she had been molested by a half-sibling. During those interactions, apparently she never indicated Morse had abused her.

Pauline Morse has already pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and she has agreed to testify against Melvin Morse. The children involved are currently in foster care. The allegations that Melvin Morse waterboarded his daughter are serious ones, but it seems clear this is a very complicated case. Opening statements took place on Tuesday, and many will be following the case closely as it progresses.

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