Girl in waterboarding trial says she lied about molestation

Tue Feb 4, 2014 5:48pm EST
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By Lacey Johnson

GEORGETOWN, Delaware (Reuters) - The stepdaughter of a well-known Delaware doctor accused of waterboarding her as punishment admitted on Tuesday that she had lied under oath about being molested by a family member in 2010.

Dr. Melvin Morse, a best-selling author on near-death experiences, faces child endangerment charges. He was arrested in 2012 after the girl, then 11, told authorities that she had been waterboarded on four occasions.

During cross-examination, Morse's defense team played a video of the girl telling a counselor how her half-sister, then 16, had recently molested her for a second time.

"That was a lie under oath, wasn't it?" asked Morse's attorney, Joe Hurley.

"Yes," replied the girl, now 12, who was cross-examined for more than three hours. "The first time it was the truth, but then the second time that she did, it was a lie."

The girl said she did not want her half-sister, who was sent to a juvenile detention center for molesting her in 2007, to return to live with the family.

When the state's prosecuting attorney, Melanie Withers, asked why the girl had lied about being molested by her half-sister, she replied: "I told them that because Melvin had encouraged me to."

She also admitted to telling a therapist that Morse had never really slapped her, but that she had gotten the idea from talking to her half-sister.   Continued...

Dr. Melvin Morse, 58, and his wife Pauline, 40, are seen in this combination of booking photos released by the Delaware State Police August 9, 2012. REUTERS/Delaware State Police/Handout