A pediatrician in Delaware has been accused of sexually molesting 103 children over a 12 year period. Dr. Earl Bradley was indicted Monday on 471 counts of rape and sexual assault of a minor. Some of the victims were just a few months old. Police found more than 13 hours of video tape that showed multiple incidents of child sexual abuse, including one assault on a 2 year old that was described by an investigating officer as "one of the most violent and brutal attacks on a child of any age" that he had ever seen. Some of the tapes show Bradley "muzzling" screaming children who tried to escape.
Apparently, Bradley would take children downstairs to a basement playroom and would attack them there while their parents and other patients waited in nearby rooms. When one mother was asked why she allowed her daughter to be alone with Bradley, she replied that she trusted Bradley because he was a doctor.
I thought that was very odd. Pediatricians normally never ask to be alone with their patients. It is understood that a parent or caregiver will accompany the child into the exam room. A pediatrician who asks parents to wait outside while he examines their child is very unusual, and the request should raise a red flag that something is not right here. (The exception to this rule is when adolescents visit the pediatrician. The doctor might offer to counsel a teenager about birth control, venereal diseases, or substance abuse, and most kids would be more comfortable discussing these issues without a parent present. But this is entirely at the discretion of the patient and his parent. No doctor should ever ban a parent from the room. I always stay in the exam room with my girls at the doctor or dentist office. I stopped acompanying Flash about two years ago, as per his very reasonable request. No teenage boy wants his Mommy in the room when the doctor is examining him. Besides, Flash has an offbeat sense of humor and thinks it's funny when our pediatrician- who is not Jewish and has a largely non-Jewish clientele- lectures him about using condoms and not dropping out of high school. "You gotta stay outside Ma, or the paranoid doctor won't talk to me about the good stuff." Far be it from me to cramp his style.)
I think it should be obvious to everyone at this point that we have to be extremely careful whom we allow to be alone with our small children. Sometimes even the most trustworthy people can't be trusted.