Delaware Pediatrician Abuse Case Eerily Familiar

The circumstances surrounding the arrest and subsequent revelations of sexual abuse concerning Delaware pediatrician Dr. Earl Bradley is all too familiar to this writer. What I’ve seen and experienced helping survivors of priest sexual abuse over the years is sadly similar to what I’m reading about the pediatrician. Dr. Bradley was in a position of special trust among parents, colleagues, and law enforcement. That special trust allowed Bradley to continue sexually abusing kids for decades in spite of the fact that there were suspicions about him for years. Bradley, like the Catholic priest abusers, groomed his victims. He was very popular and appeared to be generally good with children. He had a thriving practice. The possibility that he could be a monster abusing the community’s children was unthinkable. Essentially, he was an iconic figure in the town.
And that’s part of the problem. Institutional figures-whether they be teachers, police officers, clergy, doctors, or lawyers-are not above the law. They are human beings who’ve been given a special trust in society. However, that does not mean they should be treated with a blind faith or the sense that they are infallible. Because of their special role in our community, these people should be held to a higher standard of accountability. If this were the case, perhaps Dr. Bradley would have been arrested years ago when the first child complained that the doctor had touched him/her or kissed him/her.