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Feb 112014
 

There’s a case in the news right now about a 60 year old pediatrician who was accused of “waterboarding” his 12 year old step daughter (among other abuses) under the guise of “washing her hair.”http://www.npr.org/2007/11/03/15886834/waterboarding-a-tortured-history

A former Delaware pediatrician defended himself in court yesterday where he’s accused of waterboarding his longtime companion’s daughter by holding the girl’s head under a faucet.
Melvin Morse, 60, will be cross-examined by prosecutors today in his trial on endangerment and assault charges. He testified Monday that he was simply trying to get the girl’s hair clean.
He told the court that he and the girl’s mother, Pauline Morse, became exasperated trying to wash the girl’s hair in the shower when she was 8-years-old after she insisted she was too old to take a bath.
The girl, now 12, and her mother have said Morse used hair-washing as a threat or punishment when she misbehaved.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2556797/Pediatrician-accused-waterboarding-stepdaughter-faces-cross-examination-saying-got-defiant-sexually-abused.html

What is interesting to me in particular though is not that we have another alleged abusive step father, who in fact, was a “respected” MD but that the mother knew this was going on and yet, she did not report this abuse or defend her daughter from it.

The girl’s mother did testify for the prosecution after she too was arrested for hot protecting her daughter from this abuse.

Pauline Morse said she saw Morse holding the girl’s head under a faucet one day and doesn’t believe his claims of washing her hair.
She also told the Delaware jury of him dragging her across a gravel driveway by her ankle and down the stairs of their home.
Pauline Morse testified that she walked into the kitchen one time and surprised Morse while he had the now 12-year-old girl’s head under the faucet. She said he jumped and quickly released the girl, who was coughing and shaking.
‘He called it washing her hair, but I knew it wasn’t washing her hair because there was no soap or anything,’ she recalled.
He would routinely use ‘hair washing’ as a threat or punishment for the girl, she continued.
‘He would just say “I’m going to wash your hair,” and he would say “I will do it again,”‘  she testified.
She pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanor child endangerment charges for doing nothing to stop the several instances of abuse she says she either saw or heard.

Unfortunately, too many times the other parent in a case of abuse are themselves emotionally, if not physically, abused and are held in the relationship with a trauma bond (link) to the abuser and find it difficult to leave or report the situation.

I grew up in a family with the mantra of “what would the neighbors think if they knew X, Y or Z?” This culture, in which the innocent family member is tasked with keeping the family secrets from becoming public, because if the misdeeds become “public” then the person who exposed them is blamed for the resulting loss of face in the family whose goal is to cover up anything that isn’t “nice.”
Keeping secrets of this sort is toxic to everyone involved.

Before World War II, any person who brought “shame” on to the family name through failure of any kind was expected to commit suicide to expunge the “shame” their failure caused the family. Of course most of the time here in the US today we don’t take it to that extreme, but even here sometimes that is the case.

For a child who expects, or should expect, that their parents will keep them safe is doubly betrayed when one parent abuses and the other parent doesn’t stop it. Unfortunately too many times this is found in our society. If you read the news you will see case after case after case of this torturous behavior. But we see  only the ones that result in  the abuse being exposed in some way, many times by the death of the child.

Abuse happens in all levels of our society…rich, poor, ignorant, educated, white, black, brown and green. This particular case of abuse went on for nearly a decade, with the child being molested by an older step sibling sexually, and then abused by the step father, and not protected by the mother. I hope and pray that this young girl gets the therapy she needs and is not so badly scarred already that there is little or no hope for her recovery. At least she is alive so there is some hope for her.

I also hope that her father, who seems to me to be a psychopath, though I can’t make a diagnosis of course, but his lack of remorse, his blaming his victim for the abuse, etc. sure indicate lack of conscience and a narcissistic bent.

I pray for this young woman and every child who is being abused, and I  hope that more nurturing parents will be able to protect their children from any abuse from anyone.

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  8 Responses to “Protecting children from abuse”

  1. New article up

  2. Great post! That step father? What a douche`

    A lot of people may question the mother on this one. How could she??? How could she not say anything? How come she didn’t DO anything?

    But until You are in that same or a similar situation, you just can’t truthfully say how you would react. If someone broke into your house- Could you pull the trigger? If someone was abusive to another person- could you step in and help? If someone was verbally abusive, would you stand up for and defend the innocent?

    I have been in a few similar or different situations where a lot of people have stood by and done nothing. I know how I would and will react. Those who don’t know, I pray the day never comes for them to find out while someone’s hope or life hangs in the balance depending on their reaction.

  3. I feel great empathy for this mother, and yet, I want to bust her chops as well. I know that the trauma bond to an abuser like this woman’s husband can be tremendous, and yet at the same time I find it a terrible thing for her to sit idly by while this man abused her daughter.

    I see news stories every day about women just like her, living with, and staying with, men who abuse the children and I am going to bet, abuse them as well…and then one day he kills one of the children. It is extremely sad.

    Look at that wife who stayed with (and helped) her husband kidnap and then hold Jaycee Dugard hostage for 19 years@!Q or the wife of the man who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart.

    I am conflicted over whether they should be punished as harshly as the abuser, or if they should be “pardoned” and given a second chance.

    I can’t remember the names now but years ago…20? 30? there was a man I think in NY who tortured and killed the couple’s 6 or 7 year old daughter, and the mother was aware of what he was doing, and did nothing…he was tried and sent to prison for life, and she was eventually let go. She was apparently also violently abused. The story made national news for months, and was one of those rare stories about such behavior.

    Now, it seems there are dozens of new cases every day.

    No, I can’t say what I would have done in the past, but I DO know what I would do NOW. I’ve worked with abused women professionally many many times…and I see how brow beaten those women are. It breaks my heart all the way around.

    But I do know now, that people who are violent, abusive, etc. do not change and do not deserve a “second chance” People who have a pattern of abuse after abuse, even if they have periods of “being sorry” in between…they cannot and will not change. We must remove abusers from our lives and keep them away. I wish family courts realized this. Some courts will acknowledge that a man abused his wife, and then turn around and give him unsupervised visitation with the kids. (head shaking here)

    I wish I had the wisdom of Solomon to divine just why a parent allows the other parent to abuse the children. I really am conflicted over placing “blame” on such a parent who in all probility is also abused.

  4. Here’s a story about abuse that resulted in death of the child and the abuser

    EXCLUSIVE: Christina begged police for help for TWO DAYS before her son, 14, was found strangled by her husband. Then she was locked in a psych ward for six weeks. Here, she tells her harrowing story

    Two weeks short of his fifteenth birthday Gunnar Schumacher was drugged and strangled by his father
    Former National Guard Colonel, Ludwig ‘Sonny’ Schumacher then hanged himself in Vermont apartment
    Within 24 hours grieving mother, Christina, was locked in a psychiatric unit and held against her will
    Says she begged police to intervene to save her son in the days and hours before he was found murdered but they did nothing
    Claims she told family court of Sonny’s violence towards Gunnar FOUR MONTHS earlier but they didn’t believe her
    Says officials dismissed her fear as madness and cost her son his life
    Claims 18 years of abusive marriage led her to mental breakdown
    Lead detective describes meticulously planned crime as ‘complicated and unusual’ with investigation ongoing
    Christina believes Sonny intended to kill her too and believes her life is still in danger

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2557066/EXCLUSIVE-Christina-begged-police-help-TWO-DAYS-son-14-strangled-husband-Then-locked-psych-ward-against-6-weeks-Here-tells-harrowing-story.html#ixzz2t9C53zf9

    This mother explains her FEAR over her husband’s control complex and she was afraid to leave until the abuse became awful and then she turned to the law for help, and no one listened. After her son’s murder, they locked her up in a psych ward for 6 weeks until she was finally released by a judge. Talk about a night mare!!!!!

    My heart goes out to this good woman in all her pain and I imagine RAGE at the people who refused to listen to her warnings.

  5. I’ve been offline for a few days, so I’m trying to catch up on things.

    This is a strong article because it speaks to what’s so horribly broken where child abuse is concerned. My personal experiences with this were “typical” in that I was just as messed up as the abuser, and my decision to emerge from the abuse did not change the dynamics, nor did it alter the “system.”

    I have a terrible time trying to accept the limitations of the protective agencies – they are overloaded, jaded, and many are so burned out that they no longer care about the cases that land in their cubicles. THEN, there are so many disordered “parents” out there that use the agencies for their own nefarious purposes that ACTUAL cases of child abuse and neglect are minimized by agencies and the courts that enforce the Laws.

    Gawdalmighty, but it’s a dreadful mess and I don’t see any means of fixing these systems of “protection” for children, or adults of abuse.

  6. In the past children were considered “property” as were wives, and a man could with pretty much impunity do what he wanted to short of killing his victims…even then he might cover it up.

    I remember a man in this community who was an abuser (I was a kid) but I heard my grandparents talk aobut how he abused his wife and beat her, kids too. He was a drunk and everyone in the community knew about it but NO ONE DID A THING. It was considered
    “none of their business” and of course in those days the wife had no choice, no way to escape unless some of her family might take her in.

    My own great grandmother divorced her husband which was a big “shame” in those days, `1900, it appears from what I can put together that she had become mentally ill from a poverty diet of “meat, meal and molasses” which is deficient in B vitamins and can cause outright insanity. She died in 1905 in a mental institution. In the divorce papers she was given 10 acres and custody of the house and kids and the husband received permission to work them if she didn’t need them. There was no way she was going to be able to survive given those circumstances…with 3 young kids yet.

    except for locking her up in a locked “insane assylum” and you would have to be REALLY crazy to go there, there was no treatment.

    Times have changed somewhat about abuse, but still it is a concept so NEW to our society that doing something about it is an overwhelming job and there are UNDERWHELMING resources to do it.

    I also know that working in these kinds of situations, many times with legal hand cuffs on can jade or burn out a worker who sees their job as futile. I wish really wish there was something that could be done, but baby steps is about all we can do.

    children are still considered too not have a lot of “rights” and “parental rights” seems to trump the rights of kids to safety. UGH

    Years ago Dr. Amy Castillo told the court that her ex husband had threatened to kill the kids to get back at her, the judge game him UNsupervised visits and on the first visit he killed them. This kind of thing is NOT AS RARE AS WE WOULD LIKE TO IMAGINE….

    some offenders are so intent on CONTROL like this man who killed his son that they will do ANYTHING to “get the last word” and to hurt the vicitm ultimately.

    sick and sad, but that is why I tell people that if he will hit you or do other violence HE IS CAPABLE OF MORE. RUN AND DO NOT LOOK BACK.

  7. JURY CONVICTS pediatrician of water boarding his step daughter…no sentence yet but the article said “several years in prison” so I hope he does get QUITE A FEW “:several years” in prison. He will not be popular there as his face has been all over the news and he is going to be in prison with some people more nasty than he is, and that’s saying some.

  8. There’s a murder case at the jury now….a man killed his former wife over a custody dispute and then his current wife and he disposed of the body…he has been found guilty, and she is on trial with the jury having the verdict.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2561724/Former-actress-claims-husband-forced-help-hide-body-parts-ex-mother-two-sons-faces-charges-degree-murder.html

    As part of her defense she talks ab out her sociopathic husband forcing her to help dispose of the body. Is this another case of a trauma bonded spouse or did she willingly participate…or was she terrified.

    I notice the cops are saying “she had multiple chances to leave or turn him in” which is true.

    It again is another example of a sociopath committing a horrific crime and his wife participates in the crime or the cover up at least…I am conflicted about the woman’s behavior, and I really don’t know if she should be held accountable. I would hate like heck to be on that jury…

    This is one reason it is important that we distance ourselves from people who are violent, abusive or toxic. His first wife tried to do so, and it cost her her life. His second wife may spend her life in prison for not turning him in, at least. (head shaking here)

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