Abuse victims, parents urged to contact state hotlines immediately

On Dec. 23, Attorney General Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III held a press conference to update the public on the investigation of Lewes pediatrician Dr. Earl B. Bradley. In addition, Biden provided information about victim services that are available to community members who have been affected by the case.

“As the Attorney General of this state, and as a parent, I know how concerned the parents and caretakers of children who have been patients of this individual must be,” Biden stated.

“During the course of this ongoing investigation, we and our law enforcement partners have done – and continue to do – everything in our power to pursue this case to the fullest extent in the criminal justice system. We are acting as quickly as possible to review the substantial amount of evidence seized and will use every resource necessary to continue to conduct a methodical and deliberate investigation,” he said.

On Dec. 16, Bradley was arrested and a search warrant was executed at his medical practice. As a result, on Dec. 18, he was arrested on several additional charges. Bradley currently faces 33 felony charges, including eight counts of Rape 1st Degree, four counts of Rape 2nd Degree, 14 counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Child and two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Bradley’s preliminary hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 23, in the Sussex County Court of Common Pleas, was continued at his request and was rescheduled to Jan. 14, 2010. At that time, the existing charges, and any additional charges that may be warranted as the investigation continues, will be presented to the Grand Jury for indictment, Biden said.

Bradley remained held on $2.9 million cash bond this week.

The Delaware Department of Justice, Delaware State Police, and other agencies are coordinating specialized services for victims and their families through its Victim Services units.

Biden urged all concerned parents and caretakers to contact the Delaware State Police 24-hour Victim Services Hotline at 1-800-VICTIM-1 (1-800-842-8461) or send an e-mail to a specially-arranged Delaware State Police address - victim1@state.de.us.

Callers will speak with a live individual qualified to provide information and make counseling referrals. They may also be directed to financial assistance provided for counseling and other services through state programs, including the Delaware Victims’ Compensation Assistance Program.

Individuals that have information to provide in this case, including suspicious activity, are being urged to call Delaware State Police detectives at (302) 856-5850, ext. 216. Parents of patients or former patients of Dr. Bradley, regardless of the age of the child, are being asked to come forward.

Beebe schedules meetings to support families affected by abuse

Beebe Medical Center has scheduled community meetings to support parents and families that have been affected by child sexual abuse. The meetings will be held in collaboration with other Delaware agencies including ContactLifeline, Survivors of Abuse in Recovery (SOAR) and Delaware State Police Victim Services.

Registration is not required. These meetings, free and open to the public, will take place at the McCurry Conference room in the Medical Arts Building at the Beebe Health Campus, John J. Williams Highway (Route 24), Rehoboth Beach, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29; Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010; and Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010.

Those attending these initial meetings will decide when and how often they would like to continue to meet.

The collaborating organizations are:

ContactLifeline, which offers toll-free 24/7 crisis helpline and rape crisis services to the Delaware community;

Survivors Of Abuse in Recovery (SOAR), a statewide recovery program that provides counseling, referral and education services to adult, adolescent and child survivors of sexual abuse and assault; and

DSP victim services, the Victim Service Section of the Delaware State Police, which is available 24 hours a day through the toll free hotline, 1-800-VICTIM-1.

Beebe Medical Center has an active Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program in which forensic nurses treat patients and collaborate with law enforcement in the apprehension of defendants.

Beebe Medical Center works closely with ContactLifeline, the Sexual Assault Network of Delaware, and the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, a state agency created in 1993 to improve Delaware’s response to domestic violence.

As of Monday, Dec. 21, all of Bradley’s patient medical records had been seized and were being stored at Beebe Medical Center, state police noted, saying that the medical center had agreed to take custody of the records until the charges against Bradley are adjudicated.

Parents of children who were patients at the practice may obtain copies only of the records. Beebe Medical Center has agreed to distribute copies of the medical records for free. Any parent needing a copy may call the records department at (302) 645-3281. A 48-hour turn-around time will be required with most requests, they noted.