Bradley buildings come down
Lewes — The offices of convicted rapist Earl Bradley are no more. The Oct. 10 demolition erased the place where Bradley sexually assaulted his child patients.
“He ought to be in there,” David Lear said as cranes tore apart the buildings. “I’m here for my daughter. If it were up to me, he’d be hanging in Georgetown right there in The Circle because that’s what should happen to him. I don’t think it's right for the taxpayer to pay for somebody to stay in jail for what he’s done.”
Lear’s wife, Kim, fighting back tears, said, “I needed to be here for my daughter. Not for me, for her. What Bradley did is unconscionable. He deserves to die.”
The Lears were among very few victims of Bradley’s crimes to attend the demolition. Witnesses to the demolition of Bradley’s BayBees Pediatrics office were mostly workers, Delaware State Police officers and Department of Justice officials. Community members also attended, and passing motorists honked their horns in support.
Attorney General Joseph “Beau” Biden III said, “I never want to see these buildings again. And I don’t want anyone that lived through this tragedy, especially the survivors, ever have to see anything that reminds them of what happened on this property.”
The crowd was subdued but a cheer went up when the yellow Volkswagen Beetle with the BayBees Pediatrics logo was used as a wrecking ball on one of the outbuildings. The car used to sit in front of the office building, and it was flattened like a pancake by three excavators to get it into a Dumpster.
The demolition was organized by Millsboro contractor Harry Caswell, working with the property’s new owner, Bruce Geyer. When he purchased the property after Fulton Bank foreclosed on it, Geyer vowed to tear down the buildings. He teamed up with Caswell, who had volunteered to tear down the buildings and helped organize manpower, trucks and landfill space. J.R. Mocci Company, First State Disposal and the city of Rehoboth Beach were among those providing equipment.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Caswell said. “When I saw the car go through the roof, that was perfect.”
David Lear said of Caswell, “I cannot thank him enough, from the bottom of my heart. This is the best thing to ever happen.”
Geyer said, “It’s a great thing. It means a lot. This is one thing where everyone’s been on the same page. It has to go, and the sooner the better.”
Caswell, who went through the building prior to the demolition, said the building was the same as it was the day Bradley was arrested in December 2009. He said the buildings were still full of Bradley’s personal effects; the basement was full of freezers, desks and refrigerators. Once the outer walls came down, toys could be seen everywhere. Caswell said cameras were everywhere, and there were toys in every exam room.
“When we walked in there, it was just like the day the doors were shut. The office was set up and everything. It was very eerie,” Caswell said.
Twenty Dumpsters were used in the demolition, and Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, said 45 members of the General Assembly helped donate their tipping credits to offset the cost at the landfill.
“I think it’s a good day for our community to get rid of this constant reminder of all the terror that’s gone on here,” Schwartzkopf said.
Besides the construction crews that pitched in to demolish the building, Fairway Village contributed a staging area and Lazy Susan’s helped provide parking and a place to sit for anyone who wanted a break.
Lazy Susan's owner Susan Fluharty said of the demolition, “I am excited. I have prayed for this, trust me. I know Harry very well, and my stepson, Clint, is running one of the excavators. I do recall meeting Dr. Bradley when I moved into my new place, and even I picked up he was a weirdo, and I’m slow on the uptake.”
Spectator Lawrence Snavely of Broadkill Beach said, “I’m happy to see it go. For a lot of the people that had something happen with their kids, I know they’re happy.”
Herself a survivor of child abuse, Lana Lawrence said she had to be present for the demotion. Lawrence moved to Rehoboth Beach as she was recovering from an illness and was not in the area long before Bradley’s arrest, which triggered her own painful memories.
“A lot of people who were not associated with Bradley per se have been majorly triggered by this,” she said. “Having to drive by here every day just to go anywhere in the neighborhood – it’s been horrible.”
Lawrence said not only children but also parents involved in this case have been victimized.
“Every time I hear a parent blamed for this, I want to shake the person. The parents are victims, too. We cannot blame them. We’re taught to respect people in authority, especially doctors,” which, she said, makes it difficult for many parents to question what a doctor is doing.
Speaking of parents involved in the case, she said, “Please don’t blame yourselves,” she said. “Thank God you’re there to support your children.”
“The parents were horribly traumatized,” she said. “I wish I could wrap my arms around all of them and say thank you for being there for your kids.”
Lawrence said it was important for the buildings to come down. Quietly, she added, “I hope this doesn’t symbolize burying the problem or erasing the problem from our consciousness."
Deputy Attorney General Paula Ryan, who prosecuted Bradley, said, “It’s very satisfying. You can’t erase the memory of what happened here, but this is something that goes a long way toward the healing of the community and these families, to not have this constant reminder every time they drop by. It’s a good day.”