The house at 344 Savannah Road in Lewes in which convicted pedophile Earl Bradley once lived, remains vacant, unsold, and is a constant reminder of his monstrous acts that many people will never forget.
Bradley, 60, a former Lewes-area pediatrician, was convicted of 24 counts of rape, assault and sexual exploitation of his child patients.
In Aug. 2011, he was sentenced 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, an inmate at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, has not lived in the Lewes home since his arrest in December 2009.
In October 2011, nearly two years after his arrest, Bradley’s former BayBees Pediatrics offices near Route 1 were demolished. Contractor Harry Caswell, razed the building at no charge. Caswell said he’s willing to demolish the Savannah Road home, if a decision to do it is made.
Attorney General Joseph “ Beau” Biden III said the public should not have to look at those buildings and be reminded of the crimes that happened inside, especially not the victims and their families.
But during Bradley’s trial, there was no evidence that he committed any crimes in the house.
Demolition of the home is unlikely because it’s in the city’s historic district and is considered a contributing structure.
Contributing structures, any building constructed before 1940, are valued for their architecture, materials and history. It’s impossible to build a structure that has been standing in one place for more than 70 years.
Following bank foreclosure, the house was put up for auction. There were no bidders. Only one offer to buy the home has been made, and it was rejected.
George Thomasson, a Realtor with Prudential Gallo’s Lewes office said he’s representing people who are interested in the property.
“They’ve been talking to the City of Lewes and Lewes Historic Preservation Commission about what might be done when they’re ready. But right now they’re only talking,” Thomasson said in a recent interview.
Barbara Nate, corporate communication spokeswoman for mortgage-holder Wells Fargo, in an email wrote:
“Due to its historic status and the sensitivity of the circumstances involving the former owner, we are continuing to work with local authorities to determine the future disposition of the property.”
Thomasson said similar homes in downtown Lewes have recently sold for up to $475,000. He said given its previous owner’s history, the property is likely to sell at a reduced price.
If the house were sold for land value only, a prospective buyer would have to assume the expense of removing the house, he said.
But when Vince and Maria Carannande of Rehoboth Beach set out for their tandem bike ride into Lewes Aug. 26, they had planned to take a look at the house and have lunch.
The couple said they read about the house failing to sell at auction. Vince said he could understand someone local not wanting to buy it because of the last owner’s history. “But that probably wouldn’t matter much to someone from outside the area,” he said.
Bradlley's onetime ownership aside, Vince said Maria would be concerned about the house being haunted. But after peering through a few windows she said, “I’m not getting a bad vibe.”
“I already see what I’d do to it. I’d take that wall there out,” she said, pointing to a wall partially separating living room and kitchen areas.
Originally from New York, the couple said they’re not serious buyers because they bought their Rehoboth Beach home only a couple years ago.
“We should have looked in Lewes. I like it here,” Vince said.
Vince and Maria