Robert H. Richards IV, heir to the Du Pont fortune was convicted of raping his 3-year old daughter in 2008 yet received no prison time because he “would not fare well” in prison according to a Delaware judge.
The court documents from this case show Richards was given eight years probation and was ordered to seek treatment. The documents have only recently surfaced.
Richards ex wife, Tracy filed a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages for abusing their daughter and son. Richards has never been charged for crimes against his son.
The News Journal reported that Richards raped his daughter, now 11, several times beginning in 2005.
Court documents show the daughter said her father told her it is “our little secret,” but she didn’t want her father touching her anymore.
When the girl was 5 years old, she told her grandmother, Dana Burg, that she was being sexually abused by her father according to court documents.
Richards was originally charged with two counts of second-degree child rape, which carries a mandatory 20-year prison term if convicted. He was released on $60,000 bail. He received a plea deal and admitted that he had sexually abused his children and received the lesser charge of fourth-degree rape.
Many legal experts have found the judge’s justification for giving probation instead of jail time unusual. One defense lawyer asked rhetorically to The News Journal “who thrives in jail?”
Delaware public defender Brendan O’Neill told The Detroit News “it’s an extremely rare circumstance that prison serves the inmate well.” He opined this case would make people “wonder how a person with great wealth may be treated by the system. Prison is to punish, to segregate the offender from society, and the notion that prison serve people well hasn’t proven to be true in most circumstances.”
Sex offenders are often targeted by inmates, especially ones who’ve abused children, and are often put in protective custody for their own safety. Richards is 6’4″ and weighs approximately 250 pounds.
Superior Judge Jan Jurden sentenced Richards to eight years in prison, but suspended the time for probation that requires monthly visits with a case officer.
The lawsuit claims that while taking a lie detector test in 2010, Richards allegedly told the examiner he began to sexually abuse his son in 2005 when the boy was 19 months old. He allegedly confessed that he was “very concerned something happened with his son, but that he has repressed the memories.”
The attorney for the ex-wife, Thomas C. Crumpler, said “this self-confessed, admitted rapist and child abuser didn’t go to jail and, in fact, he stays in luxury where he’s always been.”
[Image via Delaware Sex Offender Central Registry]