Pedophile Pediatrician.

by Leslie Morgan Steiner


Over 100 children. An idyllic beach town, population 16,000. Often the violations occurred with adults mere feet away. The man rigged protective sheets and pin lights and tiny cameras so parents wouldn’t catch on. Abuse occurred in the basement where he kept the toys he handed out to his victims. He allegedly abused children repeatedly over the course of nearly ten years. The person who finally brought down one of our country’s most prolific pedophiles? A two year old girl whose parents believed her when she said the man had hurt her.


He was her pediatrician – and thousands of other children’s. His patient list included 3,100 children. Nearly 500 counts of criminal conduct have been lodged against him, including words no parent ever wants to utter: rape, sexual exploitation of a child, unlawful sexual contact, continuous sexual abuse of a child, assault, and reckless endangering. The doctor reportedly videotaped many of the assaults. These are the crimes the police and parents know about. There could be hundreds more. Bail has been set at $2.9 million.


Such are the shocking, disturbing, no-sleep-for-mom-tonight details about Dr. Earl Bradley, a Delaware pediatrician indicted in one of our country’s worst serial child abuse scandals. His alleged crimes occurred in the central Delaware town of Milford and the small coastal town of Lewes, Delaware – a popular vacation destination only 120 miles from Washington, DC and Baltimore. Patients, parents, employees and other doctors complained about Bradley over the years. But his role as a trusted community pediatrician protected him, along with the lack of credibility, sexual sophistication and verbal skills of his young patients, allowing Bradley to target children long after serious suspicions arose.


I know you don’t want to hear these sordid details. No parent does. However, there are lessons here for all parents – some of which I discussed with moms (one of whom is a pediatrician herself) on Michel Martin’s Tell Me More NPR segment, “Pediatrician Accused Of Child Molestation Puts Parents On Alert."


First, talk to your child. Abuse thrives only in silence, so you defuse its destructive power by talking openly about it before it occurs. Explain – in age appropriate terms – what sex is. Try, no matter how clumsily, to explain that some adults want to have sexual contact with children. Emphasize that because adult-child sex is wrong, your kids should tell you if anyone every touches them in private places. Regardless of whether they agreed --some perpetrators persuade kids they want the sexual contact. Regardless of whether it felt nice (genital touching usually does, no matter your age).

leslie morgan s...

Leslie Morgan Steiner

Agree totally.


So how do you know when its "inappropriate" vs. your "wild" imagination? Last summer my kids had a physical with a covering physician (our doc was on maternity leave). And while I was in the room the entire time, I was a bit uncomfortable with the way the elder male physician kept his hands on my 10 yr old daughter's stomach and chest. While speaking with me he had his hand on her naked upper torso the entire time for no apparent reason. Moving his hands up & down her chest. I thought for days after to say something, but never did for fear of over exaggerating the situation... and today, nearly a year later, I still question my decision.


It would also be helpful if parents could research complaints against doctors. It is very sad that in this case and many others, there were many complaints by employees and other patients. It is difficult if not impossible to find information about complaints against doctors because often these complaints are sealed. There should be a way to research this information without jepordizing a good doctor's reputation to protect our families.