Delaware pediatrician gets life for abusing patients

Posted Aug. 26, 2011, at 9:04 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 26, 2011, at 10:21 p.m.

GEORGETOWN, Del. — Former Delaware pediatrician Earl Bradley will spend the rest of his life in prison for committing horrific acts of sexual abuse against scores of young patients over more than a decade, a judge ruled Friday.

Bradley, 58, showed no emotion as Judge William Carpenter Jr. sentenced him to 14 life sentences without parole for 14 counts of first-degree rape. Bradley also was sentenced to more than 160 years in prison for multiple counts of assault and sexual exploitation of a child.

After escaping prosecution following two previous police investigations of complaints of improper contact with patients, Bradley was arrested in December 2009 after a 2-year-old girl complained to her mother that the doctor had hurt her. The child had made a similar complaint to her father after an earlier visit.

Bradley’s sister, who worked in his office, had told police in 2005 that her brother was bipolar and taking medication from the office, and that several parents had complained about Bradley inappropriately touching patients.

Acting upon the 2009 complaint, investigators arrested Bradley and searched his Lewes office complex. They seized dozens of homemade videos from an outbuilding where Bradley had lured patients with promises of treats and toys.

Controversial US-Canada oil pipeline moves closer to construction

WASHINGTON — The State Department has concluded that the highly controversial proposal for the Keystone XL pipeline would not have “significant impacts” on the environment, removing a major barrier to the construction of a $7 billion project that would ship oil sands crude oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast.

The State Department’s findings, part of the final environmental impact statement for Keystone XL, were hailed by the oil industry and sharply criticized by environmentalists. Though other pipelines from Canada have sailed through the government approval process with little reaction from industry or environmentalists, Keystone XL has become a fraught issue in Washington and the Midwest, and it threatens to become a significant political liability for President Barack Obama, whatever the outcome.

A final decision to issue permits for the Keystone XL is expected by year’s end.

US tobacco crop rises, but down from a decade ago

SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — This year’s tobacco harvest is expected to be among the smallest in at least a decade. Farmers are expected to produce 726 million pounds of tobacco, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. That’s up 1 percent from 2010, but down nearly 28 percent from a decade ago when more than 991 million pounds made its way into cigarettes and other products.

Tax hikes, bans, health concerns and social stigma have driven a decline in cigarette sales, but the drop is less stark outside the U.S. Growing markets like Asia are offsetting worldwide declines and contributing greatly to U.S. exports.

Study: Half of US adults now use social networks

SAN FRANCISCO — Half of all American adults are now on social networks, slightly more than a year ago, and use among Baby Boomers is growing, according to a new study.

A report released Friday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that, of the U.S. adults who use the Internet, nearly two-thirds use social networks such as Facebook or Twitter.

Among Baby Boomers aged 50 to 64, 32 percent said they use a social networking site on a typical day. That’s up sharply from 20 percent a year ago.

Seniors also are testing the waters of social networking, said Mary Madden, co-author of the report.

“The graying of social networking sites continues, but the oldest users are still far less likely to be making regular use of these tools,” she said.

Online social networks are most popular with young adults and women, and the “power users” of the social Web are women aged 18 to 29, the report found. Of this group, 89 percent use social networks and 69 percent do so on an average day.

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