Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Wife to Testify Against Near-Death Expert Accused of Waterboarding Daughter

Dr. Melvin Morse. Police photo.

The mother of an 11-year-old girl who was reportedly “waterboarded” by renowned near-death expert Dr. Melvin Morse has agreed to testify against him in court.

Dr. Morse was arrested in July 12, 2012 after neighbors called 911 to report an alleged incident in which Delaware state police say he dragged the girl–his stepdaughter–by her ankle across a gravel driveway and into the house, where he spanked her. During an interview with social services, the girl said that Morse had repeatedly punished her by holding her face under a running faucet, causing water to fill her nostrils, in a process he called “waterboarding.” The girl also told authorities that she didn’t understand what she had done wrong, and that Morse once told her that “she could go five minutes without brain damage.” According to police documents Morse also held his hand over her nose and mouth and told her ”she was lucky he did not use duct tape.” Morse and his wife Pauline were both arrested and released on bail. Dr. Morse pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and endangerment in November.

Pauline Morse. Police photo.

On Friday, Pauline Morse agreed to plead guilty to three misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. In exchange for the plea offer, Morse will testify against her husband. His trial is scheduled to beigin June 10.

Dr. Morse has co-authored two books about near-death experiences in children and runs an organization called The Institute for the Scientific Study of Consciousness. He has also written several articles on the subject, and, according to his website, has appeared on 20/20, Larry King, and the Oprah Winfrey show as an expert. On his website, Spiritual Scientific Inc., Morse discusses “spiritual neuroscience” and has a section called “lessons from the light,” which features several YouTube videos of people who claimed to have gained enlightenment following a near death experience.

News of the accusations against Dr. Morse was met with mixed response from the parapsychology community.

Near Death Expert Dad Pleads Not Guilty to ‘Waterboarding’ Stepdaughter

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