- Special Features
Blogs & Columns
- Fun & Games
An heir to the du Pont family only got probation for raping his three-year-old daughter because a Delaware Supreme Court judge believed he wouldn't “fare well” in prison.
Robert H. Richards IV, the great-grandson of Irene du Pont, was charged with fourth-degree rape back in 2009. Judge Jan Jurden said at the time that Richards would do better if he got treatment. According to The Huffington Post, the light sentence is only becoming public now because his ex-wife, Tracy, has filed a lawsuit for punitive damages for abusing his daughter.
As the News Journal reported earlier this month, his ex-wife also accused Richards of abusing his son when the child was a toddler in the suit. The lawsuit also goes into graphic detail of the rape of his daughter, which took place in 2005, when she was 3. While Richards told her to keep it a secret, she told her grandmother about it in 2007.
Over the weekend, The News Journal reported that court records showed why Judge Jan Jurden gave Richards such a light sentence. She gave him only probation because he “will not fare well” in prison and decided he needed treatment. Some authorities in Delaware were surprised by Jurden’s decision.
“Prison is to punish, to segregate the offender from society, and the notion that prison serves people well hasn't proven to be true in most circumstances,” Delaware Public Defender Brendan J. O'Neill explained to the News Journal.
Other attorneys noted that jail time is a sentence more for drug dealers, rather than sex offenders. But Kendall Marlowe, executive director of the National Association for Counsel for Children, told the Journal that sex offenders are jailed to protect children who are threatened by them.