Ex-pediatrician was convicted of one felony — waterboarding in the bathtub — and five misdemeanors.
GEORGETOWN, Del. — A Delaware jury convicted a pediatrician Thursday of waterboarding his companion's daughter by holding the child's head under a faucet.
The jury deliberated for about six hours before returning its verdict against Melvin Morse, 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 misdemeanors.
Morse could face several years in prison. Sentencing was set for April 11.
Morse was arrested in August 2012 after the daughter, then 11, ran away from home and told police she feared his discipline because he sometimes forced her face under running water, calling it waterboarding.
Defense attorneys argued that "waterboarding" was a term jokingly used to describe hair washing that the girl did not like.
The girl's mother, Pauline Morse, 41, pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanor endangerment charges and testified against Melvin Morse.
Pauline Morse and her daughter, now 12, testified that Melvin Morse used waterboarding as a threat or a form of punishment.
Pauline Morse, her daughter and other prosecution witnesses painted Morse as a father figure who delivered harsh punishment to the girl seemingly at random while favoring her younger sister, who was biologically Morse's child.
Prosecutors argued that in addition to being waterboarded, Morse subjected the girl to other abuse, including being forced to stand with arms outstretched for hours at a time; being confined to her room and deprived of food.
The trial, which lasted three weeks and was delayed several times by snowstorms, was an endurance test for attorneys, jurors and observers. The young girl testified for more than a day, as did both Morses. The trial explored at length details of the girl's past history as a victim of abuse by an older half-sister.
The defense had argued that the prosecution's case rested on unreliable witnesses, most notably Pauline Morse and the girl herself.
The girl and her younger sister remain in foster care but are allowed supervised visits with Pauline Morse.
Contributing: James Fisher, The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal and The Associated Press