Reality continued to slap the collective face of our community earlier this week when Delaware Attorney General Joseph “Beau” Biden III announced that the Sussex County Grand Jury has indicted Dr. Earl Bradley on 58 counts of rape and other sexual offenses related to his abuse of 24 girls. Keep in mind, that is in addition to the February indictment of Bradley that included 471 counts involving 102 girls and one boy.
The allegations continue to shock, though we probably shouldn’t be surprised anymore by anything that comes out of this investigation. The evidence continues to mount against Bradley, and those of us at the paper are extremely gratified that Biden continues to push for answers and more information while building his case, rather than simply going forward with the information from the original indictment.
But that’s the sticky point, isn’t it?
There is some sentiment that the right course of action for Biden would be to reach a deal with Bradley, lock him up for as long as he can and not draw out the pain and suffering of family members of the alleged victims with a drawn-out trial. It’s a solid argument to make.
However, there’s also the line of thought that says that Biden should not make any movement to reaching a deal with Bradley that does not involve life behind bars, and that Bradley should be forced to stand trial and have each count played out in court to make him pay for each individual he allegedly violated.
Though we appreciate the first argument, we feel more strongly toward the latter.
This is a case that has deeply touched, and inflamed, this community. Though a plea agreement would close the book on the case from a legal standpoint, it would not be nearly enough to satisfy the hurt feelings and anger many are feeling. This is not about seeking a pound of flesh. It’s about getting the whole story and possibly getting a better understand of what exactly happened.
We respect the notion that Bradley is innocent until proven guilty. We understand that he pled not guilty to the original indictment. One thing we certainly don’t want is Bradley pleading to a deal if he’s innocent because he’s afraid he could face a tougher sentence if found guilty.
But we want answers. We want to hear his defense. And we want him accountable for each individual he allegedly violated.