From his first campaign for attorney general to the prosecution of one of the nation’s worst pedophiles, protecting children is Beau Biden’s legacy.
It was a major plank of his first campaign for political office. “That’s why I’ve called for special attention to be brought to [child abuse] by way of a child predator unit,” Biden said in a 2006 debate.
After taking office in 2007, Biden followed through on his campaign plans and created the Child Predator Unit within the Attorney General’s office. The unit includes a task force made up of members from every police agency in Delaware. Since it’s inception, the work of the task force has resulted in more than 150 convictions.
In addition to a focus on catching pedophiles, Biden spurred the general assembly to improve treatment for victims. “There are many more opportunities for adults who were abused as kids to recover,” said Valerie Marek, executive director of Survivors of Abuse in Recovery.
Marek worked closely with Biden when the crimes of Lewes pediatrician Dr. Earl Bradley first came to light. “The most remarkable thing was that the AG’s office just moved right into Sussex County and was available to all of the victims as the story was coming out.”
Bradley was eventually sentenced to life in prison plus 165 years for abusing more than 100 young patients. Biden cited his need to finish out the Bradley case as one of his reasons for not running for the U.S. Senate seat once held by his father. “We were all certainly happy to have him serve as attorney general. He was wonderful in that position,” Marek said. “For me, it brought his talents closer to home in Delaware.”
“I think the state will remember all the work that he has done particularly as it relates to protecting kids,” said Margaret Aitken, a close friend of Beau’s since high school. Aitken also worked as communications director for then-Senator Joe Biden. “It was an enormously important part of his mission and what he wanted to do,” Aitken said. “I think that was born from a really honorable, honest place in him as a dad.”
Beau’s legacy of protecting children will live on. Earlier this week his family launched the Beau Biden Foundation. That foundation is being coordinated with the Delaware Community Foundation. According to DCF, the Beau Biden Foundation will “stand up and speak out for children who are being abused.