A former Delaware pediatrician has been sentenced to three years in prison for waterboarding the daughter of his longtime companion by holding her head under a faucet.

A judge also sentenced Melvin Morse to probation on Friday for other charges related to the girl's abuse.

Morse's attorney asked the judge for mercy, saying Morse is suffering from prostate cancer and other health conditions. But prosecutors said Morse deserved prison time for years of emotional and physical abuse of the girl.

Before he was sentenced, Morse turned to the girl, apologized and told her he hopes that one day she can forgive him.

The girl and her mother testified that Morse used waterboarding as a threat or punishment.

Defense attorneys said "waterboarding" was a term jokingly used to describe hair washing.