Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Protecting Our Kids

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.


rickismom said...

Yes, BUT the biggest danger is USUALLY someone the child knows, often a relastive. First and formost a child needs to be taught about:
1. OK and not-OK touch, and to react with NO-Go to the later
2. That there are "good secrets" (surprise gift for Tati), and "bad secrets" (ones that make your stomach hurt), and the later need to YES be shared with (teach here three people he can share with)

SuperRaizy said...

Thank you, rickismom. Those are important points.

Modern Girl said...

That was a really great post. Thanks for that. Especially given my week - I was groped on a public bus, and had to file a police report against a guy.

SuperRaizy said...

Modern Girl-
I'm so sorry that happened to you.
Not to be mean or anything, but here in New York women get groped on the bus and subway all the time. It would never occur to me to file a police report about it. I guess Canada is just a much more civilized place.

Unknown said...

We've taught our kids that nobody but us, grandparents, or the doctor can touch in certain places, and even then, only when it's needed.

We're always in the room with the doctor because that's how most doctors do things, as you said in the post; I'm surprised to hear any different.

Horrible stories. :(

Mystery Woman said...

A few months old?? What is a baby that age doing in a basement playroom without a parent?
Scary stuff.

Anonymous said...

Frighening piece of news.

RivkA with a capital A said...

It makes me so sad to be as paranoid as I am.

I find it challenging to teach my kids to be aware, without making them suspicious of everyone.

One of the things I have emphasized that if anyone ever tells them "not to tell" then they should scream really loudly and run/get out of that situation.

Modern Girl said...

Hi again,

Yes, I think there's a big cultural difference between the USA and Canada on sexual offences. My understanding is that in the USA, "sexual assault" is only used to refer to "rape" or genital penetration. Here in Canada, "sexual assault" is defined as any physical sexual act that is not consensual. Therefore, oral and manual penetration, along with touching and grope are considered sexual assault.

You're right though, I think it happens a lot, and a lot of women don't think to do anything about it. However, a person who gropes women in crowded public settings likely has the potential to do worse. After confronting the groper, I felt strongly that he would reoffend, and so I filed a report just so the police would have a profile of him which could maybe help to protect others. I didn't press charges, because I agree that's useless.

SuperRaizy said...

Modern Girl-
I think you did the right thing.

israel@ Israeli Uncensored News said...

omg! what kind of mental illness has it be to make kids suffer! and yes we have to be very careful and attentively with our kids...