Dr. Earl Bradley, the Delaware pediatrician police believed to have sexually abused possibly 100 children, recieves complaints about his odd behaviors for almost a decade. A decade of jokes among colleagues who hinted at the strangeness of his practice, concerns voiced to his sister who was employeed by him, and even a few investigations into his actions by police.
The case has shocked the close-knit coastal community of Lewes and the central Delaware town of Milford, where he closed an office in 2005 after police investigated him. The case is even more chilling because some alleged victims are no more than 6 months old.
The governor is not the only one calling for a review. The state attorney general's office also has asked for an investigation.
What they are likely to find is a lot of fingerpointing, but few willing to accept much, if any, responsibility.
For example, officials who oversee the Board of Medical Practice claim they never received any complaints until after the arrest. State law requires all medical professionals, state agencies, and law enforcement agencies to report to the licensing board in writing within 30 days if they believe a doctor is or "may be" guilty of unprofessional conduct.
State police said they didn't notify the board of a 2008 investigation because they worried about jeopardizing their case. The attorney general's office was involved in a 2005 investigation, yet apparently didn't tell the board.
Milford police said they tried to file a complaint with the board in 2005, but were rebuffed by an investigator who told them it needed to come from the victim or her parent.
Even two pediatricians interviewed in 2005 told investigators about complaints from Bradley's former patients.
Dr. Lowell Scott told police he referred to Bradley as a "pedophile" when talking to colleagues.
"I probably shouldn't comment on that. ... We would refer to him that way as more of a joke," Scott told The Associated Press.
"We all felt that he practiced differently than we did. ... None of us had any actual knowledge of him doing any potential harm," Scott said.
Bradley was described as a quiet, unkempt man who had trouble looking adults in the eye but nevertheless gained parents' trust. Police allege that after finishing exams at his Lewes office, he would molest children in the basement or an outbuilding, where they would be given toys or candy.
When one's behavior is to an extreme that people were openly joking about his being a pedophile, when his own sister raised concerns about him, when he'd already been investigated at least once- and former patients complained about him... then the fact that this case against him has unfolded in the manner that it has shouldn't be shocking to anyone.
You have a 50 year old man, "respected" doctor or not (and in this case just the mere fact that people joked about his behavior and associated it with pedophila hints that he was less respected than most want to admit now)- taking small children out of the sight of their parents with no reasonable excuse, a man who is clearly not able to engage in comfortable adult interactions (pointed out by the fact he couldnt even keep eye contact with another adult) didn't just prey upon "nearly 100 children". You have a man who was able to surround himself with adults, parents of young children, who evidently lacked the mental capacity to understand that something was clearly wrong with this situation- or who lacked a sincere desire to even care that something wasn't right.
Having nearly 100 victims, being the joked about pedophile in the pediatric field, Bradley wasn't hiding under the cover of just the trust parents. What we have here is an entire community, complete with a medical board and law enforcement who failed every child this man came within treating distance of. Few involved are likely to be truly "shocked" by the case that is being built against Bradley... but pretending to be shocked probably seems like a better reaction than having to be embarressed that they failed to do something for so long that this has snowballed to the point that it has.