The Campaign Spot

A Footnote to a Candidate’s Decision to Not Run for Senate in Delaware

Granted, being a state prosecutor is a tough job, and when a judge turns down your request to seek evidence at a suspect’s workplace, that hinders a potential criminal case a great deal.

But I’m starting to think we have another reason why Beau Biden didn’t seek that Senate seat in Delaware:

In December 2008, an investigation into alleged sex crimes by Lewes pediatrician Earl B. Bradley was blocked when a Sussex County Superior Court judge rejected the state’s attempt to raid the doctor’s office.

Dealt a setback, Delaware authorities never took further steps that could have stopped the suspected pedophile.

While the doctor continued to treat hundreds of children a week, police and prosecutors didn’t present the search warrant to another judge, or bolster it with new evidence. They didn’t seek an arrest warrant. They didn’t ask federal authorities for help. They didn’t report Bradley to the state medical board, which could have suspended or revoked his license.

Over the next 12 months, a stretch during which a state police spokesman said detectives “didn’t have anything to work with,” Bradley raped or sexually assaulted 47 young girls in the Disney-themed office and filmed the attacks, last month’s indictment said.

The fact that so many children were allegedly abused after the search warrant was rejected has led some to question whether prosecutors and police did enough. While Attorney General Beau Biden said prosecutors decided not to report Bradley to the Board of Medical Practice and risk damaging their case, some legal and medical experts said officials needed to do everything they could to keep the doctor away from more children.

“It’s incomprehensible that a prosecutor would not try to stop the further abuse of children for fear of jeopardizing the investigation,” said Colm F. Connolly, U.S. attorney for Delaware from September 2001 until January 2009. “This is inexcusable and too many people have paid a horrible price for the lack of judgment.”

Biden is now in charge of prosecuting that man, accused of terrible, terrible deeds. We can wish him success in his pursuit of justice. But considering the threat to the community, when all is said and done, there are going to be a lot of hard questions about how this case was handled, and whether anything could have been done quicker to remove a dangerous threat from access to children.

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