An American paediatrician known for his research into near-death experiences in children has been accused of waterboarding his own 11-year-old daughter.
Dr Melvin Morse, 58, who has appeared on television in the US to discuss his work on out-of-body experiences, has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
Police said he used the controversial simulated drowning technique, more typically associated with the interrogation of terrorism suspects, at least four times over two years starting in May 2009.
He was said to have held his daughter's head under a tap in a sink or bath tub, pouring so much water on her face that it would go up her nose.
His wife Pauline Morse, 40, was also arrested at the couple's home in Delaware. Police said she had seen her husband use the process to discipline the girl and did nothing to stop it.
When he was arrested Morse was already on bail over an incident in which police allege he grabbed his daughter by the ankle and dragged her into the house across a gravel drive on July 12.
In a police interview three weeks later the girl described the alleged waterboarding. Her father told her she "could go five minutes without brain damage" while having water poured on her face, she told police.
Morse has written several books exploring visions reported by children who have had near-death experiences, and he had appeared on television programmes including The Oprah Winfrey Show.
A bizarre entry on his website details how an imaginary falcon told him to move "quickly in the dark of night" from the US west coast to Delaware where his "big idea" would grow.
Joe Hurley, a lawyer for Morse, said: "Whatever's being described is not waterboarding."
He said the use of the term was an "attention-getter" by authorities, that the 11-year-old girl had "opposition issues" and had made unrelated false allegations against another family member before.
In an entry on her Facebook page Mrs Morse said: "I am extremely shy and I'm very upset and want to just be alone so I can gather myself together."
Officials in Delaware have suspended the doctor's medical licence. He and his wife have been ordered to have no contact with their daughter and will appear in court on August 16.----
|Liveleak on Facebook|