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Earl Brian Bradley (born May 10, 1953) is a former pediatrician from Lewes, Delaware and convicted serial child molester. He was indicted in 2010 on 471 charges of molesting, raping and exploiting 103 child patients (102 girls and 1 boy). Some of the victims were as young as three months old.
He was charged in April 2010 with an additional 58 offenses in relation to the abuse of 24 additional victims. He has been described by a number of reputable news outlets and commentators as "the worst pedophile in American history."
Dr. Eli Newberger, a professor at Harvard Medical School and a pediatrician who has studied child abuse cases for almost 40 years, said Bradley's was "the worst pediatrician abuse case I've ever heard of." Bradley had access to an estimated 7,000 pediatric patients. According to a personal injury law firm in Baltimore, one of many representing class action plaintiffs, 1,400 families in the class action alleged abuse.
Bradley was ultimately found guilty on all charges and was sentenced to 14 consecutive terms of life plus 165 years in prison without parole on June 26, 2011. His conviction was affirmed by the Delaware Supreme Court on September 6, 2012. In the wake of his arrest, it emerged that he had faced accusations of child abuse as early as 1995 in both Delaware and Pennsylvania.
Sexual abuse accusations
The first known allegations of inappropriate conduct by Bradley came in 1994 when Thomas Jefferson University Hospital investigated a patient's complaint of sexual misconduct. There was a second allegation in 1995. The hospital could not verify the claim, and records remain sealed. Bradley promptly closed his fledgling private practice and relocated with his children to Lewes, where he took a job with Beebe Medical Center.
In 2004, Bradley's sister Lynda Barnes, who had served as an office manager at his medical office, alerted the state medical society that parents had complained to her about inappropriate touching by Bradley. Barnes also reported that Bradley physically and emotionally abused his own son, and stole prescription antidepressants from the office.
Allegations were made again in 2005. Police records show that a nurse reported that he videotaped kids playing and other doctors reported complaints about long and unnecessary vaginal exams. When police in Milford, Delaware sought a warrant to arrest him for inappropriately touching a child patient, the Attorney General's office concluded at the time that there was insufficient evidence to warrant prosecution.
On December 16, 2009, following a year-long investigation and complaints of inappropriate touching by a two-year-old patient, Bradley was arrested and charged with nine counts, including a felony charge for a fourth degree rape of a two-year-old patient. Soon after, relying on more than 13 hours of videotaped rapes and molestations discovered by police in Bradley's home and office, additional warrants were issued. These included felony warrants for several counts of child exploitation and first-degree rape.
On June 23, 2011, Bradley was convicted on all 24 counts on a consolidated indictment (which originally contained 529 counts): 14 counts of rape, seven counts of assault, and three counts of sexual exploitation of a child.
On August 26, 2011, Judge Carpenter sentenced Bradley to the maximum sentence of 14 consecutive terms of life in prison plus a further 165 years in prison without parole. Under Delaware law, anyone convicted of raping three separate persons automatically receives life without parole. Judge Carpenter said that Bradley "betrayed his patients' trust and disgraced the medical profession", and that "you will never be in a position to harm a child again".
Bradley appealed to the Delaware Supreme Court, claiming that the original search warrant was not specific enough about where the evidence would be located, and that the police exceeded the limits of the warrant without probable cause. The Delaware Supreme Court unanimously affirmed Bradley's convictions on September 6, 2012.
Bradley was held in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) of the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in New Castle County until 2016, when Delaware authorities announced they would move him to an out-of-state prison because many of his victims and/or state residents otherwise affected by his actions either worked in or were incarcerated in Delaware prisons. Connecticut authorities revealed that Bradley was moved to the Cheshire Correctional Institution in Cheshire, Connecticut.