April 19, 2010 in Nation/World

Suspect doctor had prior complaint

Associated Press

LEWES, Del. – A Delaware hospital has revealed that it investigated a 1996 complaint against a pediatrician now accused of molesting more than 100 patients, but the doctor was cleared of wrongdoing.

A nurse reported in 1996 that Dr. Earl Bradley may have inappropriately touched young girls in his care.

Officials at Beebe Medical Center said after Bradley’s December arrest that they were not aware of any past problems with him. They have since acknowledged that Bradley was investigated by Milford police in 2005, but no charges were filed. Officials said in a statement that they were revealing the 1996 complaint now because they could do so “without jeopardizing the criminal case.”

Police and prosecutors found out about the 1996 investigation after they charged him in December.

Bradley faces 471 criminal counts including rape, sexual exploitation of a child and continuous sexual abuse of a child. Authorities say he videotaped the assaults of his patients, including infants and toddlers, some of whom screamed or tried to get away. The recordings date back to 1998.

Beebe CEO Jeffrey M. Fried said he regrets not being able to stop Bradley in 1996.

“Once you know what happened, you see what a diabolical person he was,” Fried said. “It makes your stomach turn.”

Chase T. Brockstedt, an attorney who represents one alleged victim’s family, said Beebe missed a golden opportunity to stop Bradley.

“Think of all the children who would have been spared,” Brockstedt said.

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