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Earl Bradley Beebe Memorial

Judge approves Beebe Medical Center sex abuse settlement

By Beth Kutscher
Posted: November 21, 2012 - 5:00 pm ET

A Delaware judge has approved a settlement agreement (PDF) that establishes a $123 million trust for victims who were sexually abused by a Beebe Medical Center staff physician.

The settlement ends 17 months of mediation to resolve a class-action suit brought by the victims of Dr. Earl Bradley, who was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting young patients over a 15-year period before his arrest in 2009.

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The trust includes insurance proceeds as well as cash contributions from Beebe, the Medical Society of Delaware and a number of individual physicians who were named in the suit for allegedly failing to report or otherwise stop the abuse. The settlement is not an admission of liability.

Beebe's contribution amounted to $6.7 million as well as an additional $100,000 a year over the next five years beginning in 2013. Beebe also agreed to provide medical services to victims at a value up to $1 million until Aug. 10, 2027.

In addition, the medical center's insurers agreed to provide an additional $111.8 million to the trust.

The 155-bed hospital, based in Lewes, Del., said it would have faced bankruptcy if it hadn't been able to reach an agreement with its insurers to provide coverage for the claims against it. President and CEO Jeffrey Fried testified that Beebe has had difficulty securing additional funds from lenders for daily operations and capital improvements.

The case represents the first time a class-action proceeding has been used to address multiple complaints of sexual abuse.

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