US paediatrician faces 500 child sex charges

An American paediatrician is facing nearly 500 charges of child sex abuse in one of the worst cases in the country’s history.

All 103 of Dr Earl Bradley’s alleged victims were documented on 13 hours of video recordings found at his office and home in Lewes, Delaware.

Attorney General Beau Biden said: “These were crimes committed against the most vulnerable among us – those without voices.”

He said that while there have been other cases around the country involving multiple victims, “I know of no other that has this many victims.”

The 471 charges against Bradley include rape, sexual exploitation of a child, unlawful sexual contact, continuous sexual abuse of a child, assault and reckless endangering.

Bradley, who was arrested in December and initially charged with 29 counts for allegedly abusing nine children, is being held with bail set at $2.9m (€2.13m). His medical licence was permanently revoked by the state last week.

Bradley’s lawyer, Eugene Maurer, said he had not read the charges laid by a grand jury but was not surprised by the allegations.

“I’m sure they have their reasons for including all these different victims in this indictment,” said Mr Maurer, noting that under state law, a single conviction of rape would be enough to put Bradley behind bars for life.

Mr Maurer added that the “real battleground” in the case will be Bradley’s mental state, not what is seen on the videotapes or alleged in the charges.

Bradley is accused of video taping his sexual exploitation of patients as far back as December 1998. Many victims were assaulted repeatedly, some on consecutive days and one girl was raped more than a dozen times over a period that lasted more than a year.

Mr Biden encouraged parents and victims of Bradley, “regardless of age or gender,” to contact prosecutors, who have sent out about 3,100 letters to Bradley’s patients and set up an office to handle complaints and direct potential victims and their families to counselling.

“I know that today’s indictment will reopen painful wounds,” he said.

After years of suspicions among parents and questions about his strange behaviour from colleagues, Bradley was arrested after a two-year-old girl told her mother that the doctor hurt her in December when he took her to a basement room of his office after an exam.

The case has shocked the close-knit coastal community of Lewes and the central Delaware town of Milford, where Bradley closed an office in 2005 after police investigated him.

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