Jury convicts Delaware doctor, Melvin Morse, of waterboarding

6:21 PM, Feb 13, 2014   |    comments
Melvin L. Morse of Georgetown, Del., is seen in an undated file photo provided by the Delaware State Police. (Photo: AP/Delaware State Police)
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(USA Today) GEORGETOWN, Del. - A jury has convicted a former pediatrician accused of abusing his companion's daughter with torture techniques by putting her head under a faucet.

Melvin Morse, 60, was convicted of one felony, waterboarding in the bathtub, and five misdemeanors, and will be sentenced April 11.

STORY: Ex-pediatrician goes on trial for waterboarding child
STORY: Delaware doctor accused of waterboarding testifies

Morse was arrested in August 2012 after the daughter, then 11, ran away from home and told police she feared his discipline because he sometimes forced her face under running water, calling it waterboarding.

Morse's wife, Pauline Morse, also was arrested, and later pleaded guilty to some charges. She received probation and agreed to testify against her husband.

The trial, which lasted three weeks, was delayed several times by snowstorms. It had been an endurance test for attorneys, jurors and observers. The young girl testified for more than a day, as did both Morses. The trial explored at length details of the girl's past history as a victim of abuse by an older half-sister.

The charges against Morse at trial's end included one count of third-degree assault, relating to whether Morse injured the girl by dragging her out of a car the night before she ran away, and three counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, tied to two alleged episodes of waterboarding and one episode of "hand suffocation." There are also four counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

In testimony, the girl said the waterboarding continued into 2012. Morse, who took the stand in his own defense, said he only washed the girl's hair in a sink a few times when she was reluctant to bathe herself, and that he hadn't even done that for many years before his arrest.

Morse could face several years in prison.

Contributing: James Fisher, The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal and The Associated Press

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