A man accused of waterboarding the daughter of his wife began his trial Tuesday (Jan. 28). Melvin Morse is accused of waterboarding their daughter and putting her through brutal punishments for several years. According to a report from KOMO News, the former associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington pleaded not guilty to child endangerment and assault charges. He also denied claims by Delaware State Police that he may have been experimenting on the 11-year-old girl.
Morse and his wife Pauline were arrested back on August 9, 2012, and were charged with several felony counts. Before that arrest, Morse had written several books on children as well as near-death experiences. That had led to appearances on "Oprah," "Larry King Live," "20/20," and "Good Morning America." He was also out on bail for misdemeanor charges of assault and endangering the welfare of a child at the time of the new arrest. He was accused of grabbing the 11-year-old by the ankle and dragging her across a gravel driveway before spanking her.
Morse was accused of waterboarding his daughter when the 11-year-old was interviews by investigators. She stated that she had been going through the punishments as a form of discipline since 2009. Since then, the two parents have claimed that the punishments were nothing more than hair-washing. The defense attorney for Morse references that in his opening statement by saying that the girl "hated to have her hair washed." He also noted that, "There was no water on her face cutting off her breath."
It was last year that Pauline Morse split off from her husband and agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment charges and to testify against Melvin Morse. As for why her story has changed, the defense attorney claims that she just wants to be reunited with their two girls who are now in foster care.
The case is now garnering national attention, especially because of the numerous television appearances that Melvin More made during his professional career. At some point during the trial, the prosecution is now going to have to prove that he was waterboarding his daughter over a number of years.
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