Dr. Earl Bradley Accused of Abuse Two Years Before Molestation of Hundreds Began
Dr. Earl Bradley might have been stopped before hundreds abused, lawyer says.
April 19, 2010 — -- The Delaware pediatrician accused in a horrific patient sexual abuse case was cleared in a similar complaint by a hospital just two years before he allegedly began a molestation spree involving hundreds of children at his private practice, authorities said.
The Beebe Medical Center in Delaware released a statement on its website revealing that a nurse had complained that Dr. Earl Bradley may have been inappropriately touching young female patients, particularly when taking urine samples during examination, in 1996.
The 471 criminal counts Bradley now faces are alleged to have begun in 1998, according to court documents obtained by ABCNews.com.
Bradley is accused of videotaping the sex acts with more than 100 patients at his Lewes, Del., practice called BayBees Pediatrics while the children's parents waited in another room.
A lawyer for one of Bradley's alleged victims and one of 18 families suing Beebe Medical Center for negligence told ABCNews.com that he wonders if the victims could have been spared had the hospital done more at the time of the initial complaints.
"What the 1996 revelation signifies to me, is an incredible red flag that should have been dealt with properly and if it had, we think that folks could have been saved," said attorney Chase T. Brockstedt.
An internal investigation of the allegations was conducted at the time, according to Beebe, but was done through "peer review," rather than by reporting it to the state medical board. This way, the hospital could investigate "without fear that the results of the investigation will become available for malpractice litigation," Brockstedt said.
It was determined during the internal review that Bradley's techniques involving female patients were "within mainstream of current pediatric practices," and Bradley continued to work at the hospital in various capacities until 2009, the hospital said.
Beebe released the information to authorities only after they were subpoenaed following Bradley's December 2009 arrest.
Beebe CEO Jeffrey M. Fried was not made available to ABCNews.com for an interview, but told The News Journal that, "Once you know what happened, you see what a diabolical person he was. It makes your stomach turn."
Beebe said in the statement, "People's lives have been forever altered by this diabolical monster."
Bradley, 56, is being held at the Vaughn Correctional Center on $4.7 million bail and pleaded not guilty to the charges in February.
His public defender did not immediately return messages left by ABCNews.com.
If convicted, Bradley faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
"I cannot say certain things that I am feeling, and I am feeling a great deal. I am determined to see that this defendant will never, ever be in a position again to hurt another child," Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden said in a statement following the February indictment.
The 160-page indictment describes in detail Bradley's alleged behavior between 1998 and 2009. Of the 103 children mentioned in the indictment, only one of them was male.
Among the 471-count indictment includes allegations that Bradley forced children to perform sex acts on him as recently as Dec. 13.
Some of the children were allegedly molested continuously over a series of days or months. One victim was allegedly raped by Bradley from June 2007 until February 2009, and another was molested "continuously" between November 2008 and November 2009.
A search of Bradley's medical practice late last year led to the analysis of more than 13 hours of video files, computers and hard drives and more than 7,000 patient files.
Biden told ABCNews.com at the time of Bradley's arrest that "this is a very very troubling case, and we here in the state of Delaware are pursuing it aggressively to the fullest extent of the law."
"The thing that makes this case so troubling and horrific is the alleged abuse of trust in this matter," said Biden. "These are highly specialized cases where no one in the community could believe someone could do this to a child, to a child who is voiceless."
Biden said that some of the alleged victims were just months old.