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Paediatrician convicted of waterboarding

14 February 2014, 20:01

Georgetown - A paediatrician known for his research on paranormal science and near-death experiences with children was convicted on Thursday of waterboarding the daughter of his longtime companion by holding her head under a tap.

The jury deliberated for about six hours before returning its verdict against Melvin Morse, aged 60.

Morse was charged with three felonies, two for alleged waterboarding and one for alleged suffocation by hand. He was convicted of one felony, waterboarding in the bathtub and five misdemeanours. Jurors reduced the second waterboarding charge to a misdemeanor and acquitted Morse of the suffocation charge.

Morse showed no reaction as the verdict was read. He was ordered to surrender his passport and will remain out on bail until his sentencing, set for 11 April.

Morse faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, but a lesser punishment is likely under state sentencing guidelines. Each misdemeanour carries a maximum of one year in prison but typically results in probation. The felony reckless endangerment conviction for waterboarding carries a maximum of five years in prison but a presumptive sentence of 15 months.

Prosecutor Melanie Withers said she was "very gratified" by the verdict, and that she was on her way to speak with the victim, now 12 years old.

Morse declined to comment and referred questions to his attorneys.

"He maintains his innocence to this day", said attorney John Brady.

- AP


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