Earl Bradley, Alleged Predator Pediatrician, Could Have Been Stopped? Hospital Investigated in 1996

Dr. Earl Bradley. (AP/Delaware State Police)

LEWES, Delaware (CBS/AP) A Delaware hospital apparently missed a chance to stop an alleged predator pediatrician, Dr. Earl Bradley, who is facing more than 500 counts of molesting and raping young children.

Bradley has pleaded not guilty to 471 sex abuse counts. Authorities say he videotaped the assaults of his patients, including infants and toddlers, some of whom screamed or tried to get away. The recordings date back to 1998.

The missed opportunity may have come in 1996, according to documents recently released by Bebee Medical Center, regarding a complaint against Bradley by a nurse who worked with him. She raised several concerns, chiefly about his practice of using a catheter to obtain urine samples from young girls. The nurse questioned why Bradley needed girls to undress before an exam, and the way he positioned girls while he examined their genitals. She was also concerned about his kissing and hugging of patients.

Beebe CEO Jeffrey M. Fried said he regrets not being able to stop Bradley in 1996.

"Once you know what happened, you see what a diabolical person he was," Fried said. "It makes your stomach turn."  He said he considered it a "clinical" concern and not a complaint of a sexual nature.

An internal investigation concluded there was nothing unusual about Bradley's clinical practices, and while Fried said Bradley's hugging and kissing of patients was "quirky," the hospital did not consider it to be a violation of policy. Bradley was not disciplined.

According to court records the hospital may have had a second chance to stop Bradley in 2005 when Milford investigators were looking into a complaint against him.  The hospital was reportedly served a subpoena asking for any complaints and disciplinary actions against Bradley but they never sent information about the 1996 review.

Hospital officials say they were not obligated to report the complaint because Bradley was cleared after an internal review.

On Monday a grand jury returned an indictment adding more than 55 more charges against Dr. Bradley, bringing the grand total of potentially preventable sexual offenses to 526, and the number of young children allegedly violated by him, to nearly 130.

Bradley is being held in lieu of $4.7 million bail. A status conference in the case is scheduled for May 17.

March 25, 2010 - Alleged Predator Pediatrician, Earl Bradley, Pleads Not Guilty to 471 Counts of Sexual Abuse
February 23, 2010 - Earl Bradley, Predator Pediatrician? Doctor Hit with 471 Counts of Child Sex Abuse