12-year-old girl says stepfather waterboarded her

Feb. 4, 2014 at 7:04 AM

HARBESON, Del., Feb. 4 (UPI) -- A 12-year-old Delaware girl testified against her stepfather, saying he abused her with waterboarding, suffocation and harsh punishments for misbehaving.

The girl said Monday she pretended to die once when Melvin Morse, 60, allegedly held her nose and mouth shut.

"I thought since he was pretty much trying to kill me, I pretended to play dead," said the girl, who escaped from her Harbeson-area home in July 2012 at age 11. "I couldn't really stand up anymore. I felt if I didn't do something about it, I would die."

She said he also controlled everything she wore and ate, and often would force her to stand with her forehead against a wall or with her arms stretched out as a form of punishment.

She said sometimes he forced her head under the kitchen faucet, causing water to go up her nose.

"Sometimes I thought I heard him yell, 'Die,'" she said of the alleged waterboarding. "One time I tried to tell him it hurt. He didn't listen to me. I don't think he even heard me."

Morse, who is married to and has a biological child with the girl's mother, was charged with abuse and reckless endangerment. The girl's mother, Pauline Morse, pleaded guilty to lesser charges, admitting she did nothing to stop the abuse.

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