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Former Delaware pediatrician, Dr. Earl Bradley was sentenced on August 26 to 14 life sentences without the possibility of parole. He was convicted of 14 counts of rape and received an additional 160 years for sexually abusing 103 of his patients from 1998 to 2009.
He was originally indicted for 470 counts of rape, sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a child; that number was later consolidated to just 24 through negotiations with lawyers. During his career from 1994 to his arrest in 2009, he received a number of complaints from patients, parents and colleagues, and was the focus of two police investigations.
The Medical Board of Directors in Delaware was supposedly contacted a number of times in regards to his unprofessional conduct with his patients, but the Medical Board insists it never received any allegations concerning Bradley until after his arrest.
The two initial police investigations were never granted permission for a search warrant, and so without any physical evidence, the Delaware police were unable to continue their investigations. Despite the complaints lodged against Bradley while he was a licensed pediatrician, the truth of the harm he was doing to his patients was beyond what anyone suspected.
When the police finally were able to get a search warrant after a two-year old girl complained to her mother about Bradley hurting her genitals, they were able to seize 83 tapes and DVDs showing Bradley molesting young children.
In the trial, one of the police officers involved in the case testified that the average age of his victims was only three years old, because they were not as verbal as older children. He would often force the children to perform oral sex on him, and then give them colored ice to cover up any blood or swelling.
Additionally, in the videos he is seen sometimes grabbing a child by the head and throwing the child on a couch after forcing the child to perform sex acts. As the horrific details of this case begin to come out, people are questioning how this pediatrician was allowed to practice medicine for so long without his more sinister actions being found out.
Following Bradley’s arrest, Governor Jack Markell asked Linda L. Ammons, the dean of the Widener University School of Law, to compile a report reviewing the current laws and policies in place. Her 62-page report outlined 68 recommended changes, while avoiding placing blame on any single organization or practice.
Following the report, Gov. Markell passed nine laws that would help to prevent misconduct like this to continue undetected by tightening regulations and encouraging both the medical and police communities to work together with suspected physician misconduct and child abuse.
Billed by Ammons’ report as the “pedophilia case of the century,” the atrocities uncovered during this case have encouraged other states to review their reporting policies regarding physicians as well.
As Earl Bradley begins his permanent internment in prison, the families and victims of those he hurt have found some measure of justice for the actions incurred upon them and now have the task of healing from the damage caused by Bradley’s insidious actions.