Bethel UMC to reclaim former Bradley property

Anonymous donation to fund transformation of lot
This house at 344 Savannah Road in Lewes, once owned by convicted pedophile Earl Bradley, has been donated to Bethel United Methodist Church. BY RON MACARTHUR
January 28, 2014

Bethel United Methodist Church in Lewes has agreed to accept the donation of a Savannah Road property previously owned by convicted pedophile Earl Bradley.

The property, a lot and a house, was anonymously donated to the church, as was an additional gift of $100,000 that must be used for the property.

The donations, and their acceptance by the church, were announced in the February newsletter of the church. "As a Church, and as the followers of Jesus Christ we are uniquely qualified to redeem a place associated with a felon, by turning it over to God so it can be used for good," the newsletter states in a post titled "From Horror to Hope."

The post states the gift comes with no stipulation as to its future use, and church leadership has made no decision about what it will do with the property, which backs up to the church parking lot on Chestnut Street in Lewes.

The newsletter states that while Bradley owned the property, church leaders do not  believe he lived there. However, when Bradley was arrested in 2009, police listed his address as 344 Savannah Road, the address of the property acquired by the church.

The Bradley property was put up for bid at a May, 15, 2012 sheriff's sale. There were no bidders on the property, which reverted back to lienholder U.S. Bank National Association.

The Rev. Earle Baker, who wrote the newsletter post, invited parishioners to speak with him about the donation. For those who were harmed by Bradley, he wrote, "I pray that you will become part of the conversation that helps us develop a new use for this property so that God can use it for good."

Baker also wrote, "Likewise my prayer for the entire Bethel Family is that we would allow God to make us agents of change and bring from past horrors, hope for many hurting people in Lewes."

Bradley is serving 14 life sentences and 164 years in prison for assault, rape and sexual exploitation of a child in the abuse of 86 patients. A class action suit filed against him was joined by nearly 1,300 victims.

Note: This story has been updated to include that police listed 344 Savannah Road as Bradley's address when he was arrested in 2009.

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