Judge William C. Carpenter ordered Lewes pediatrician Earl Bradley to serve the maximum possible sentence for his crimes against children: 14 life sentences for first-degree rape and 164 years in prison for second-degree assault and sexual exploitation of a child.
Bradley was convicted of 24 counts of rape, assault and sexual exploitation involving 86 children. For rape against more than three people, life in prison with no parole was the maximum sentence.
Speaking to Bradley, Carpenter said, “You have abused your position. You have violated the morals of your community. You will never be a doctor again and never again be in a position to violate a child.”
Carpenter said the sentence was fair and just. Bradley will have no possibility of parole and will serve his time at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna at Level 5, meaning Bradley will never leave the prison grounds. Bradley will also have to repay $66,000 already paid out to victims by the state’s Victim’s Compensation Assistance Program.
Bradley’s attorney, Dean Johnson of the Public Defender’s Office, said he will file an appeal to the Supreme Court Aug. 26, or Monday, Aug. 29. Johnson has 30 days to appeal the verdict, although he said it will not take that long to file an appeal notice.
Attorney General Joseph “Beau” Biden III said, “The goal was to make sure Earl Bradley never walks out of a Delaware state prison alive, and the judge saw that through today. Earl Bradley will not walk out of prison alive; that was our first objective.”
Biden said the next objective is to continue helping Bradley’s victims, a job that could take years.
“We’re going to continue to make sure we do everything we can to provide for their families anything they need in dealing with this tragedy,” Biden said.
During the sentencing, prosecutor Paula Ryan said no jail time is sufficient to address the damage Bradley has done. She said Bradley committed unspeakable acts, repeatedly attacking toddlers and children and videotaping it for his own perverse pleasure.
Ryan said Bradley designed his life to commit crimes against children, choosing a career where he had unlimited access to patients.
She said Bradley groomed parents to trust him to get access to their children. Ryan called Bradley a sophisticated and dangerous pedophile who cunningly and deceitfully manipulated parents. The damage Bradley has caused is devastating and far-reaching, she said.
Ryan said parents should not blame themselves for allowing Bradley’s crimes to happen.
“Only Earl Bradley is to blame,” she said.
Bradley, clad in a gray Department of Correction jumpsuit and shackled in leg irons, had nothing to say when Carpenter asked if he had any response to the sentence. Bradley’s beard was noticeable longer and thicker and his hair was long and shaggy.
While the gag order in the case has been lifted, Biden said the Attorney General’s Office would have little to say because of the appeals process.
Bradley’s defense team will seek to suppress video evidence showing Bradley assaulting children. The defense team says the evidence was obtained through an unauthorized search.
Biden said prosecutors are confident the verdict will stand. “We’re confident in our position. It will play out in the Supreme Court,” Biden said.
Johnson said, “This is the sentence we were expecting, and Mr. Bradley knew he was going to get a life sentence. He has been fairly steady emotionally throughout the whole proceedings over the last year and a half. He is placing great stock in the appeal.”
Johnson said Bradley has been an active participant in the process, reading the cases and the law in support of the suppression motions.
Once the notice of appeal is filed, transcripts will be ordered, and the Supreme Court will set up a briefing schedule. Johnson said he did not know how long that would be. No arguments will be filed with the notice of appeal.
“It’s going to be quicker than a murder appeal just because the amount of transcripts that need to be obtained are fairly small,” he said.
Johnson said his office requested the gag order, not the judge. He said commenting on the case was of no benefit to anyone.
“Until we get to the Supreme Court, there’s nothing really we have to say,” he said. “We’re proceeding on the appeal because we think we have a meritorious appeal.”
While Ryan said in court that Bradley had no remorse for his crimes, Johnson said Bradley had expressed remorse to him privately.
“It’s a horrible situation for everyone,” Johnson said.
Bradley received 25 years each on five counts of sexual exploitation of a child, the maximum sentence, and 8 years each for 5 counts of second-degree assault. One year was deducted from the sentence for time served at Level 4, adding up to 164 years.
Addressing the victim’s families, Biden said, “We’re gonna be here for them for the long haul. This has been a tragic, tragic event for the nonverbal children in this case, their parents, the town of Lewes, for this county – Sussex County – and this state. This community has come together in an unbelievable way. They have great strength and we’re going to be there for them.”