Independent review leaves bad taste

Law Dean Linda L. Ammons, of Widener University, was tasked by Gov. Jack Markell in January to conduct an independent review after the arrest of Dr. Early Bradley, the Lewes pediatrician accused of more than 100 sexual assaults. On Tuesday, May 11, Ammons released her findings — and it doesn’t look good at all.

In her report, she called the case against Bradley, “perhaps the pedophilia case of the century.” As has been previously reported, complaints about his behavior were first reported in the 1990s while he was practicing in Pennsylvania. The main point to come out of Ammons’ report was that Bradley should have been thoroughly investigated much sooner.

“A mass tragedy of this magnitude may have been pre-empted if the individuals directly involved had been alert, less willing to give Bradley the benefit of the doubt, and if they had scrupulously followed the law,” wrote Ammons. “Systems were in place to catch a perpetrator, but, they were either not properly assessed, or when called upon, human and mechanical error prevented the appropriate actions from being taken.”

That is fairly damning. Ammons reported that she found that a nurse at Beebe Medical Center told officials in November 1996 that she had concerns about Bradley taking photos of patients without their guardians’ knowledge, excessive kissing of patients and inappropriate remarks. Beebe officials have been very public in defending themselves regarding Bradley, and have been aggressive in denouncing his actions. Ammons also took to task the Delaware Medical Society, the Department of Justice and other entities.

Ammons certainly didn’t blame any of these organizations for Bradley’s alleged actions, but she inferred that more prudent response by them could have led to an earlier investigation.

The entire report was not about dissecting the breakdowns in the law that permitted Bradley to allegedly perform these acts for so long. She also added 68 recommendations to prevent this from taking place again — including those to the Board of Medical Practice, the Department of Justice and the Delaware Medical Society. The full report can be found through Widener’s law school Web site at report.

The more we learn about the case, the more troubling it is that this was able to continue as long as it allegedly did. We’re upset that so many dropped the ball on this, but hopeful that steps will now be taken to ensure this never occurs again.