Update: Lawyer says 'waterboarding' claim exaggerated

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Melvin Morse
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Pauline Morse

The medical license of Milton pediatrician Melvin L. Morse was suspended, according to a state regulatory website  as the story of alleged  “waterboarding” became national news and a  well-known Delaware defense attorney took on the case.

This came after two children from Georgetown  were placed into  custody of Family Services, after  a  daughter reported she was “waterboarded” by Morse, 58.

In an interview with WDEL,  attorney Joseph Hurley claimed the waterboarding claim is exaggeration, pointing to what he said was a previous case of the daughter claiming abuse against a family member (not Melvin  Morse) and later taking back her claim. He went on to note that the case has attracted widespread interest, noting that he received a call from a British newspaper.

Hurley is comfortable with high-profile cases, perhaps the best known being his representation of Thomas Capano, who was convicted of  murdering Ann Marie Fahey, the secretary of then Gov. Tom Carper.  Hurley  quit the case over differences with long-time friend. Capano, a former state prosecutor.

The investigation came about after Delaware State Police detectives were  told  about an incident   on July 12.   Morse, who has a  medical practice in Milton, allegedly grabbed his daughter, 11, by the ankle and began dragging her across a gravel driveway at the family’s residence.

Morse reportedly spanked the girl inside the home and was arrested on July 16th. He was later released after posting $750 secured bail.

On Aug. 6th, the girl was brought to the Child Advocacy Center where she was told detectives that over a two-year period, beginning in May 2009, she was disciplined by her father at least four times, by what he called “waterboarding.”

The practice involved the father holding her face under a running facet causing the water to enter her nose and hit her face. The punishment was used on her no less than four different occasions.  The victim’s mother, Pauline Morse, 40, allegedly saw a few of the incidents and failed to stop Melvin.

The Morses were arrested at their residence on August 7th and arraigned Melvin is in Sussex Correctional on $14,500 bond. Pauline Melvin was released $14,500 unsecured bail. Both face endangerment and conspiracy charges.

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