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Pediatrician Accused of Sexual Abuse and Medical Malpractice

Parents of a victim of an accused pedophile pediatrician in Lewes, Delaware have sued the doctor and Beebe Medical Center, where he worked.

The suit, filed in New Castle County, accuses Dr. Earl B. Bradley of sexually abusing a child twice in his office on Dec. 3 and Dec. 14, and charges that Beebe failed for years to report concerns about the pediatrician’s conduct.

Police arrested Bradley one day after the alleged second attack on the child in the lawsuit, saying that he had raped nine children between the ages of 3 months and 13 years and videotaped the assaults in his camera-rigged offices. Investigators have since said that more than 100 children might have been victimized by Bradley since 1998.

Beebe, other doctors, medical staffers and some police were aware of complaints about the pediatrician for years before his arrest. No reports ever reached the state Board of Medical Practice, however, despite a law requiring notification and allowing fines of up to $5,000 for violators.

The suit was filed in New Castle County’s Superior Court on behalf of “L. and D. Doe as parents, guardians and next friends of M. Doe, a minor child.” It accuses Bradley — who practiced at Beebe and was the hospital’s chief of pediatrics for two years — of sexual abuse crimes as long ago as 1994.

Beebe officials Jan. 8 issued a statement denying knowledge of issues before Bradley’s arrest that would have required a report to the medical board.

The same statement, however, confirmed that hospital officials in September 2005 required Bradley to have a chaperon whenever seeing patients in the hospital, a precaution taken after reports that the pediatrician had been investigated in Pennsylvania.

Beebe dropped the chaperon requirement about a month later, after the closing of a separate Milford police investigation into other claims of impropriety targeting Bradley. Milford police wanted to charge Bradley
Delaware’s Division of Professional Regulation last week sent all doctors, health care licensees and institutions statewide a letter to “stress the importance” of their duty to report suspected unprofessional conduct.

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