The Delaware State Police have arrested a Georgetown couple for abusing their eldest daughter and endangering both of their children.
Melvin Morse, 58, remains in custody at the Sussex Correctional Institution for allegedly abusing his 11-year-old daughter, while Pauline Morse, 40, is out on bail. Both of their daughters, including a 5-year old, are currently in the care of Delaware Division of Family Services, a unit of the state Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families.
The investigation began after detectives were informed of a domestic assault incident that occurred on July 12 when Melvin Morse grabbed his 11-year-old daughter by the ankle and began dragging her across a gravel driveway at their home, State Police Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said. Morse then brought her inside the home and began spanking her.
Morse, a pediatrician, was subsequently charged on July 16 with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of assault in the third degree for this incident., Fournier said. He was later released after posting $750 secured bail.
But, on Aug. 6, the 11-year-old girl was brought to the Child Advocacy Center where she was interviewed and informed detectives that over the course of a two-year period, beginning in May 2009, she was disciplined by her father by what he called “waterboarding,” Fournier said. This act was performed on her by her father holding her face under a running facet causing the water to go up her nose and all over her face.
This form of punishment was used on her no less than four different occasions, Fournier said. The victim’s mother, Pauline Morse, witnessed a few of these incidents and failed to stop her husband from performing the act, he said.
Melvin and Pauline Morse were the arrested at their residence on Tuesday, Aug. 7 and brought back to Troop 4 where they were booked. Melvin Morse was charged with four counts of reckless endangering in the first degree and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He was arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court #3 and committed to Sussex Correctional Institution in lieu of $14,500 secured bond.
He was issued a no contact order with either of the children and his wife, police said.
Pauline Morse was charged with four counts of reckless endangering in the first degree and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. She was arraigned at JP3 and released on $14,500 unsecured bond.
She also was ordered to have no contact with either of the children or her husband