(CNN) — A Delaware doctor and his wife were arrested this week after their daughter told authorities that she was punished by “waterboarding,” police said.
The 11-year-old girl told police that her father, pediatrician Melvin Morse, would hold her face under a running faucet causing the water to shoot up her nose, the Delaware State Police said. The punishments happened at least four times over a two-year period and the girl’s mother, Pauline Morse, witnessed some of them and did nothing, police said.
Morse specializes in near-death experiences in children and wrote a book about the subject called “Closer to the Light” in 1991.
“In hundreds of interviews with children who had once been declared clinically dead, Dr. Morse found that children too young to have absorbed our adult views and ideas of death, share first-hand accounts of out-of-body travel, telepathic communication and encounters with dead friends and relatives,” a reviewer wrote about the book.
Morse was also interviewed by CNN’s Larry King about the subject, and he runs a nonprofit organization called The Institute for the Scientific Study of Consciousness.
Authorities were first alerted to allegations of abuse in July when they went to Morse’s home in the city of Georgetown. Morse was accused of grabbing his 11-year-old daughter by the ankle, dragging her across a gravel driveway into the home and spanking her, police said. Morse was arrested at that time and posted a bond. Also the 11-year-old was interviewed by detectives.
During the interview, the girl spoke about other alleged abuse and talked about a punishment she said her father called “waterboarding,” the Delaware State Police said.
Morse and his wife were arrested on August 7. Both face charges of reckless endangerment, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child, police said.
Morse was being held in the Sussex Correctional Institution in lieu of a $14,500 bail. Pauline Morse was released on a $14,500 bail. Both were told to have no contact with their 11-year-old daughter or her 5-year-old sister.
The two children were being cared for by the local Division of Family Services, police said.
The 11-year-old told police in chilling detail about the alleged abuse, according to court documents obtained by Delaware newspaper The News Journal.
The girl said her father said “she could go five minutes without brain damage,” the newspaper reported, citing court documents.
According to the court documents the girl said Morse would “sometimes look away while he did it and (redacted) would become afraid that he would lose track of time and she would die.”
CNN’s Jack Maddox contributed to this report.
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