In what has been called the “worst case of single perpetrator sexual abuse in the country,” former Delaware pediatrician Earl Bradley was convicted in 2011 of sexually assaulting former patients.
After the criminal case, which found the defendant guilty and issued 14 consecutive life sentences, a civil class action was initiated to recover damages for the more than 900 children Dr. Bradley assaulted over the years. In fact, no one knows for sure how many victims there were.
The law firm of Schochor, Federico and Staton represented about 350 victims, the largest number of plaintiffs in this class action suit that was 16 months in the making. In preparing the case, they interviewed each family to document the extent of the abuse, an emotional process that made them even more resolute to achieve justice for their clients.
The frequency with which this doctor abused children was unprecedented, and he preyed not only on children but even toddlers. Over 100 videos that Bradley made himself were used against him in the criminal trial, detailing horrific acts of sexual predation over the course of 15 years.
Furthermore, his sister had written a letter informing the hospital and the Delaware Medical Society that her brother was a pedophile many years earlier, but their response was only to chaperone him for 6 months. Afterward, he was hired as a pediatrician and two years later he became the chief of the department, exposing the clear negligence and a failure on behalf of the disciplinary bodies in place to investigate such cases.
In conjunction with other counsel, Schochor, Federico and Staton was able to obtain a settlement of $123 million that was announced in November of 2012. Of that amount, $119 million came from six different insurance companies covering Beebe Medical Center, $3 million from the Medical Society of Delaware, and $1 million in free medical and mental health care from the hospital for the victims.
The $123 million dollar settlement will be used for the victims to fund their care, counseling, and other treatment to help them recover from their trauma as much as possible.
“The damages caused by child sexual abuse are far reaching,” said Partner Philip C. Federico at the time. “We want to ensure that these children have access to appropriate medical and mental health care to begin the healing process.”
Managing Partner Jonathan Schochor noted that the case is far from over in the hearts of the victims and their families. “We have achieved an extraordinary result for our clients under very difficult circumstances,” he said.
“Now, our clients will be afforded an opportunity to obtain the finest medical care available to help them cope with what occurred and lead productive lives.”