|Delaware Crime: Ex-Judge Admits Molesting Boy
William C. Bradley's Statement Part of Lawsuit Settlement
By Sean O'Sullivan
January 22, 2010
WILMINGTON -- Standing in front of the building where William C. Bradley Jr. had been a judge until last week, attorneys Thursday handed out a one-page, two-sentence statement from the former jurist admitting he molested an 11-year-old boy more than 30 years ago.
For Gregory Kelly, now 44, it was the vindication he has been seeking for decades.
More than 20 years ago he told his family about the incident and about 12 years ago unsuccessfully tried to get the Delaware Attorney General's Office to investigate, he said.
Then in April 2009, Kelly filed his civil lawsuit through the Delaware Child Victims Act on his own after several Delaware attorneys declined to take up the suit against a sitting judge.
"This case should serve as a model of courage and persistence for all victims of crime, especially sex crimes," said Brian D. Kent, a Philadelphia attorney who agreed to represent Kelly in federal court after the suit was filed. "He was determined to seek justice for the heinous actions perpetrated against him as a young boy. And he has been successful."
Judith Miller, the Delaware coordinator for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called Thursday's news a "tremendous victory."
"Greg never gave up despite all kinds of obstacles," she said. "I just applaud Greg's determination and his courage."
The statement was released as part of a settlement by Bradley of two lawsuits -- one by Kelly and one by a "John Doe" who alleged that Bradley molested them when they were children decades ago. Kent also said his office located at least 10 other people who said they were victims of inappropriate sexual contact by Bradley when they were children and would testify to that in court.
The statement signed by Bradley and handed out on the steps of the New Castle Courthouse on Thursday reads: "On or about the evening of Dec. 28, 1975 and Dec. 29, 1975, while present in my home located in Townsend, Delaware, I molested Gregory Kelly, then age 11, through inappropriate sexual contact. I deeply regret any harm I have caused to Gregory Kelly and his family."
Bradley could not be reached for comment Thursday, and his attorney, Mason Turner, did not respond to repeated phone calls.
The statement was a required part of Bradley's settlement with Kelly, along with an undisclosed cash payment, in return for Kelly dropping his lawsuit seeking damages.
Bradley's abrupt resignation last week was not a requirement of the settlement, according to Kent.
The terms of the "Doe" lawsuit, which also named Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Delaware as a defendant, are not being released, and Kent said there was no public admission by Bradley in that case.
But while Kelly's primary demand -- the admission and apology -- were met, he said by phone this week that he was not "pleased" with this resolution. "I'll be pleased when Judge Bradley is in jail," he said, adding he believes this is "only the beginning" and that more victims will come forward.
Kent, who also represented "John Doe" in his case against Bradley, did not release the names of any of the 10 who were prepared to testify against Bradley, saying it would be "up to them" to come forward.
Kent said most of the 10 claimed the abuse happened in the 1960s and 1970s -- around the same time that Kelly and Doe alleged they were forcibly fondled -- before Bradley became a Court of Common Pleas judge in 1976.
At least one, however, claimed to have been abused by Bradley in the early 1990s, Kent said.
Kelly's federal civil lawsuit and Doe's state civil lawsuit were brought under Delaware's Child Victims Act, which suspended the statute of limitations -- on such civil suit for actions that may have been committed years ago -- for two years.
That window closed in July 2009.
All of those who agreed to testify for Kelly and Doe against Bradley chose not to file lawsuits or missed the deadline to do so, Kent said.
Also, is it unlikely that criminal charges could be filed in any of those cases, according to attorneys, because the alleged events took place so long ago.
The Delaware Attorney General's Office declined to comment on Thursday's revelations by and about Bradley, but spokesman Jason Miller said the office had no reason to believe Bradley's admissions would have any effect on any closed cases that Bradley presided over as a judge.
Miller said the office is unaware of any recent allegations of abuse against Bradley but "will review any matters brought to our attention."
According to attorneys, William Bradley is not related to Dr. Earl Bradley, the pediatrician who has been charged with sexually abusing his young patients in Sussex County.
Contact Sean O'Sullivan at 324-2777 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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