• U.S.

Wealthy Child Rapist Given Probation As Judge Felt He Would ‘Not Do Well’ in Jail

2 minute read

Newly released documents reveal that in 2009 a Delaware judge sentenced a wealthy heir to probation after he admitted he had raped his 3-year old daughter, saying the rich white man would “not do well” in prison.

Robert H. Richards IV, one of the heirs to the du Pont fortune, admitted in June 2008 that he had raped his 3-year old daughter, Delaware Online reports. The girl told her grandmother about the 2005 alleged abuse, and said that her father had said it was “our little secret” but that she didn’t want “my daddy touching me anymore.” Richards was originally charged with two counts of second-degree rape, but accepted a last-minute plea deal on fourth-degree rape charges, a class C violent felony that usually comes with over two years of jail time. Prosecutors sought only probation, and Judge Jan Jurden agreed, sentencing him to an 8-year prison sentence but commuting all the prison time in favor of probation.

Judges occasionally refuse to send felons to prison if they are ill or frail, but Richards is 6’4″ and was in good health.

Defense Attorney Joseph A. Hurley said the judge had acted appropriately. “Sex offenders are the lowest of the low in prison,” Hurley said. “He’s a rich, white boy who is a wuss and a child perv. The prison can’t protect them, and Jan Jurden knows that reality. She is right on.”

The news of the sentencing emerged after Richards’s ex-wife Tracy made court documents public in a civil lawsuit demanding compensatory and punitive damages for her daughter, and alleging that Richards also molested their infant son. No criminal charges have been filed against Richards for molesting the boy.

[Delaware Online]

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Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com