DOVER — A state board suspended the medical license of Milton pediatrician Dr. Melvin L. Morse late Thursday after his arrest on charges that he subjected his 11-year-old daughter to “waterboarding” as punishment.
Dr. Morse, 58, and his wife, Pauline, 40, of Georgetown, were arrested Tuesday and charged with four counts of felony first-degree reckless endangering, felony second-degree conspiracy and two misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
He had practiced medicine on a part-time basis at Scott Pediatrics on Federal Street in Milton for two and a half years until May.
The state sought an emergency suspension of his license, issued in Delaware in early February 2007, after Delaware State Police brought the charges this week.
Secretary of State Jeffrey W. Bullock and the President of the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline Dr. Stephen G. Cooper signed the suspension Thursday “based on the serious criminal charges pending against Dr. Morse, including repeated violent actions against his own child, repeated incidents of endangering his two minor daughters, and the fact that he is currently a practicing pediatrician,” according to a statement issued by the secretary’s office.
“Our duty is to protect the public from potential harm, and we believe that the allegations against Dr. Morse are sufficient to immediately suspend his medical license,” Secretary Bullock said. “A pediatrician who is alleged to have committed crimes against children, whether the victims are patients or not, should not have contact with patients until there is a full evaluation of his case.”
Officials said the suspension will be in effect until a hearing by the board.
The criminal investigation first began July 12, state police said, when a neighbor called police and reported that Dr. Morse grabbed his 11-year-old daughter by the ankle and dragged her across a gravel driveway at their residence and then began spanking her inside the house.
Dr. Morse was arrested July 16 on two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of third-degree assault, and released after posting $750 secured bail.
At that time, he also was charged with one count of terroristic threatening.
According to the motion by the state Department of Justice seeking to suspend Dr. Morse’s medical license, he was charged with that felony after threatening to kill a 65-year-old man in May.
That charge originated from the Wilmington Police Department, which did not have additional details on the incident Thursday.
Delaware State Police Master Cpl. Gary E. Fournier said, “When we picked (Dr. Morse) up on our warrants, he was wanted by Wilmington Police Department as well.”
Dr. Morse is incarcerated at Sussex Correctional Institution in default of a $14,500 secured bond; his wife posted a $14,500 unsecured bond and was released.
The longtime pediatrician, who has lectured and authored several books on near-death experiences, had seen patients once a week at Scott Pediatrics up until May, when he requested off to spend time with his mother, according to attorney Jeff Austin, who represents Dr. Lowell Scott.