Thu, Jan 7, 2010
The Milford Police Department has confirmed it conducted a criminal investigation against pediatrician Dr. Earl Bradley in April 2005.
Milford detectives were made aware of a victim who reported allegations against Bradley at his Milford office, which opened around March 2004. Detectives conducted an investigation and reviewed the evidence in the case with the Attorney General’s Office, which decided not to prosecute the case. Lt. Edward Huey of the Milford Police Department said the department made contact with the Board of Medical Practice. The victim’s parents were given the choice to file complaints with the board, but Huey said he and the department did not know if a complaint was filed.
Huey also said he did not know if detectives checked with other states Bradley held licenses in – Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida – to see if there were any further reports of complaints.
James Collins, director of Delaware Division of Professional Regulation, said the division received no complaint about Bradley from Milford detectives or from anyone else. “We don’t have a specific record of them calling us. People call all the time to ask what the process is for reporting a complaint, but if they did not share with us the nature of the complaint, we have no way of knowing,” Collins said. “We don’t have any referrals or complaints” about Bradley, he said.
He also said that had his office heard allegations such as those raised by the child in Milford, “We would absolutely open up an investigation.”
Jason Miller, public information officer with the Department of Justice, said Bradley was not prosecuted in 2005 because the assigned prosecutor and his supervisors made the determination that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. Miller said the department could not comment on whether the Milford evidence will be used in the ongoing investigation.
Sgt. Walter Newton, Delaware State Police spokesman, said the state police had no past investigation of Bradley. He said the police are talking to those involved in the Milford case; otherwise, the Milford investigation was totally separate from the ongoing investigation of Bradley.
Bradley has been charged with 33 counts of rape and child exploitation at his Lewes office on Route 1. Thus far, Bradley’s alleged crimes involve seven to nine victims, ranging in ages from 3 to 6 months to 12 years old.
However, officials with the Department of Justice have estimated there could be hundreds of victims over a period of 11 years.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, used by the Delaware State Police to obtain a search warrant for Bradley’s computer and medical files, the first reported incident took place in the summer of 1999.
The first child was a 7-year old girl who was scheduled for a physical. With the mother present, Bradley allegedly pulled the child’s pants down and stuck his finger in her with no gloves on. The child screamed and her mother jumped up immediately and questioned Bradley. The mother indicated that had never happened with any other pediatrician before or since.
Four years later, another 7-year old girl was taken in for a routine physical. Bradley allegedly examined the child’s private area. The child’s grandmother was present but turned her back until the child began to get out of control, at which point she told Bradley to stop. Bradley picked up and carried the child around during the examination, which also made the grandmother uncomfortable.
A third child, a 5-year old girl, complained in April 2004 to her mother that she did not want to see Dr. Bradley anymore because “he gives her too many kisses.” Another child, a 3-year-old girl, in March 2005 said Bradley kissed her tongue when he took her to a separate room without anyone present.
In September 2008, a 12-year old girl was taken to see Bradley after complaining of a sore throat and pinkeye. The child’s throat culture and temperature were never taken, her urine sample was not tested and a nurse was not present; however, the child was given a vaginal exam. The child’s mother was present and trusted Bradley but said later she felt sick to her stomach when she left the office.
On the way home, the child said she felt “dirty” about what had occurred. In an interview with the Children’s Advocacy Center of Delaware, she said she felt Bradley touch her in her private area. The child said that Bradley tried to take her to another room alone but her mother insisted on going with them. The mother contacted Bradley the following day asking why a vaginal exam was done for a sore throat, but Bradley never explained the exam.
In December 2008, a 6-year old girl was brought in for possible attention deficit disorder. Bradley told the child’s mother that the child had not had a physical in a while, and he would need to do one to prescribe medication. Bradley then conducted a vaginal exam. The mother, who was present, observed Bradley placing a drape on the child’s stomach that extended down to the legs. The mother saw Bradley pull the child’s underpants down. Only one of Bradley’s hands was gloved. The mother could not see what he was doing under the drape.
The mother told police she was upset about the exam but did not question Bradley. During the visit, Bradley kissed the child several times and told her he missed her. He also asked the child if she wanted to stay with him for the night. After they left, the mother informed her child’s school nurse of the incident. The nurse contacted the public health service and then the mother, stating the child’s underwear should not have been removed and wondered why Bradley was wearing only one glove. The child described the incident in a forensic interview with the Sussex County Children’s Advocacy Center on Dec. 9, 2008.
The seventh child mentioned in the affidavit was an 8-year old girl, who was taken to Bradley for excessive urination. The child was brought to Bradley’s office on three separate occasions and each time a vaginal exam was conducted.
Each time, the child was given a cup to bring back a urine sample in two weeks. After the third exam, the child’s grandfather felt something was not right and took the child to another pediatrician. At her appointment with the new pediatrician, the child was not asked to take her clothes off. The child’s mother mentioned what her child had been experiencing at Bradley’s office and the nurse contacted Troop 4’s Major Crimes Unit.
The eighth child was the 2-year old girl who was at the center of the original charges against Bradley.
During this visit, on Dec. 7, the child told her mother after a visit that Bradley had touched her in the private area while alone in the toy room. The child’s mother was present but stayed in the exam room because she trusted Bradley as her child’s pediatrician.
After returning to the exam room, Bradley and the child left again and returned again to the toy room, which was in the basement of Bradley’s office. When they returned, the child had candy.
After the child told the mother what happened, she told the child’s father, who said his daughter complained of similar behavior at a visit on Oct. 28. The Delaware State Police were contacted and, based on the child’s testimony, Bradley was eventually arrested on Dec. 16.
Witnesses paint further portrait
Around the time of the Milford investigation, state police interviewed five witnesses who paint a further picture of how Bradley ran his practice.
According to the first witness, a pediatrician who worked with Bradley and was interviewed in March 2005, three of his patients were patients of Bradley. These patients all had similar stories of Bradley conducting long vaginal exams on female patients, the witness said. He also said he has referred to Bradley as a pedophile while talking to colleagues.
The second witness, also a pediatrician who worked with Bradley, said Bradley was a “different character” who did not have a lot of friends. The witness, who was interviewed in April 2005, said Bradley frequently visited eBay on his computer and liked to take digital pictures of his patients.
The witness said he has had a lot of patients transfer to him because of complaints about female exams, taking children away from their parents for minutes at a time and forcing children to get undressed when they didn’t want to.
Witnesses 3, interviewed in April 2005, said Bradley was not very interactive with parents but he had not witnessed any inappropriate behavior, although he did see Bradley hold and kiss children on the cheek.
Witness 4 was a nurse who worked for Bradley, also interviewed in April 2005. The witness said she resigned because she was tired of Bradley wasting money on children’s toys instead of items needed for the office. She also said Bradley did not communicate well with parents but believed him to be caring and genuine with the children. The witness said Bradley enjoys photography and videotapes kids in plays.
She said Bradley had planned for his Lewes office to have a children’s theatre and an ice cream shop at his Milford office.
The fifth witness, the fourth interviewed in April 2005, was a former office manager who worked with Bradley for three years.
Bradley fired the witness because she confronted the doctor about personal problems and financial issues with the business. She said Bradley would take samples of medication out of the office for his own use and that Bradley claimed he was bipolar, taking medications like Zoloft, Paxil and Zitera.
The witness also told police that Bradley physically and emotionally abused his one son but showed a lot of affection toward his daughters. The witness said, as office manager, she received several complaints from parents about improper touching by Bradley.
The most surprising revelations from the witness were that Bradley’s uncle was arrested on pedophilia-related charges in State College, Pa., 16 years ago, confirmed by Delaware State Police.
The witness also stated that when Bradley’s father died in 1965, child pornography was found in his home.
The witness said she filed a letter with the Delaware Medical Society detailing her concerns. An investigation was never conducted. Representatives from the medical society could not be reached for comment.
Finally, a sixth witness, a former employee interviewed in December 2008, told police that Bradley operated his office in a chaotic manner. The witness said Bradley installed surveillance cameras in various locations at the office.
She said Bradley could access the office cameras from his home computer.