Water Boarding Case Heats Up in Prosecution Questioning - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Water Boarding Case Heats Up in Prosecution Questioning


GEORGETOWN, De. - The man accused of water boarding his step-daughter faced questions from the prosecution Tuesday morning. Melvin Morse, 60 took the stand and said he had made mistakes as a parent, but water boarding wasn't one of them. 

Morse was arrested in July, 2012 after he was accused of endangering the welfare of his 11-year old step-daughter. In August of that year, the girl told the Child Advocacy Center that her father had water boarded her on at least four occasions. 

On Tuesday, there was a lot of tension in the room. Morse was on the defensive as State Prosecutor Melanie Withers asked direct questions about his treatment of the young girl. 

Morse was at times making a grimace, as he looked out at the jury, sitting through hours of questioning on both Monday and Tuesday.

Withers showed photos of the young girl being punished by Morse. In many of the photos, the girl had tears in her eyes, which Withers zoomed the camera to see. In one, the girl had fingers lodged in her nose, something she said her step-father made her do. 

Morse said she was doing this on her own.

"Did you enjoy causing Anna pain," Withers asked. "Did you enjoy humiliating her?"

Morse answered no to these questions, but he did admit that he hit the girl on that day. 

"I didn't want to slap her," he said. "I just did."

Withers also showed various other photos, showing the girl being punished by Morse. In one, the girl stood naked other than her underwear over the kitchen sink. In another she wore a sign that said "shame" on it. In a third, she stood on top of a table with her hands over her head. 

At one especially testy moment, Morse started to explain that the parents were doing the best they could with a tough situation. He spoke about the young girl working through problems after her step-sister had molested her years before. 

In frustration, Withers then slid the countless photos across the projector one after the other and raised her voice at Morse. 

"How does that help that child," she said. 

Morse admitted to the jury that he made mistakes with the parenting of the young girl. 

"These are failures of parenting," he said. "I'm not proud of it."

The prosecution also brought up the accusations on water boarding. Withers played videos of the youngest sister speaking about the water boarding incidents she saw done on her sister. 

"Dad cleaned her hair by water boarding," she said. 

Later she continued, saying "(she) doesn't like it cause water gets in her face - like her eyes and stuff." 

However Morse said these were not incidents of water boarding. Instead, he said it was simply the parents,working to keep the girl's hair clean. He said his step-daughter disliked having her hair washed, and so he had to do it himself. 

Morse is expecting to be back in the courtroom Wednesday morning, to be further questioned by the defense. 

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