On Friday, Aug. 26, Sussex County Superior Court Judge William C. Carpenter Jr. sentenced former Lewes pediatrician Earl Bradley to 14 consecutive life sentences in prison for the 14 counts of rape in the first-degree of which he was found guilty in June.
Bradley was also sentenced to an additional 164 years in prison for the five counts of assault in the second degree and five counts of sexual exploitation of a child.
“You will serve the remaining years of your life in jail,” said Carpenter. “It is a fair and just sentence for the harm you’ve caused.”
Bradley stood before Carpenter in a gray Department of Corrections jumpsuit, with his feet shackled and long hair and beard unkempt. He kept his head lowered during the sentencing and did not speak.
In addition to Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, approximately 60 people were in the courtroom, some of whom cried during the sentencing. A closed-circuit live video feed was also sent to another room within the courthouse for victims and their families to watch in private.
Carpenter ordered that Bradley serve his sentence in the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna under Level 5 detention, meaning he will never be allowed to leave the grounds.
It was also ordered that Bradley have no contact with anyone younger than 18 and not possess media, magazines or videos in which anyone younger than 18 is depicted.
“The practice of medicine is a privilege. You have abused your position. You have not practiced with integrity. You have violated the morals of your community. For this, you will never be a doctor again and never again be in a position to violate a child,” stated Carpenter.
Bradley was also ordered to reimburse $66,528.20 to the Victims Assistance Program, based out of the Attorney General’s Office, to help the victims of his crimes.
To the victims and their families, Carpenter said, “We often have a natural tendency to blame ourselves when these acts occur, but you must realize you are not at all at fault. You and your children have done nothing wrong. The Court can only hope that time will heal the wounds.”
In her closing remarks, Deputy Attorney General Paula Ryan called Bradley a “monster” who committed “unspeakable acts upon those who could not speak for themselves.”
“Only Earl Bradley is to blame,” she said.
Ryan stated that Bradley’s excessive cruelty, coupled with the vulnerability of his patients, demanded the maximum penalty.
“To make these indescribable and horrific events even worse, he used his position as a physician … as a weapon of abuse,” she said.
Bradley’s attorney, Public Defender Dean Johnson, did not make a closing argument. Following Carpenter’s decision, Johnson said that the sentence was “expected.”
“Mr. Bradley knew that he was going to get a life sentence. The judge had no choice in the matter,” said Johnson, adding that Bradley had expressed remorse to him privately.
He added that a notice of appeal would be filed by Monday, Aug. 29, at the latest. Bradley’s defense team will seek to suppress the more than 13 hours of video evidence showing the former pediatrician sexually assaulting dozens of children. Johnson has previously argued that the video evidence was illegally obtained.
“He is placing great stock in the appeal,” Johnson said of his client, adding that Bradley has been an “active participant” in doing research related to his case.
“We think we have a meritorious appeal,” he said. “It’s a horrible situation for everyone.”
As for the sentence imposed by Carpenter, Biden said that such a penalty was his office’s “first objective. The Attorney General’s office now hopes to focus on helping the victims and their families.
“We’re going to be here for them for the long haul,” said Biden. “This has been a tragic, tragic event for the nonverbal children in this case, their parents, the town of Lewes, for this county – Sussex County – and this state. This community has come together in an unbelievable way. They have great strength, and we’re going to be there for them.”