‘Wealthy’ man convicted of child rape gets no prison

Robert H. Richards IV

Robert H. Richards IV

WILMINGTON, DEL. — Though Robert H. Richards IV was convicted of rape, the wealthy heir to the du Pont family fortune was spared prison by a Delaware court in 2009 because he would “not fare well” behind bars, according to court documents CNN obtained Tuesday.

Richards is a great-grandson of the chemical magnate Irenee du Pont.

He received an eight-year prison sentence in 2009 for raping his toddler daughter, but the sentencing order signed by a Delaware judge said “defendant will not fare well” in prison and the eight years were suspended.

Richards was placed on eight years’ probation and ordered to get treatment and register as a sex offender, the documents show. He was also prohibited from having contact with children under 16, including his own children.

The documents were never sealed, yet the ruling managed to go unnoticed until March, when Richards’ former wife, Tracy Richards, filed a lawsuit in Delaware Superior Court on behalf of their children alleging “personal injuries arising from the childhood sexual abuse.” The 11-page suit alleges that not only was their daughter abused, but Richards abused their son, too. The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages.

While he was convicted of raping his daughter, Richards has never been charged with sexually molesting his son, according to Jason Miller, a spokesman for the Delaware attorney general’s office.

CNN tried repeatedly to reach Richards and Eugene Maurer, the attorney who represented him in 2009. Maurer is no longer representing Richards, his assistant told CNN on Wednesday. CNN asked if he had a comment; he has not offered one.

Attorney John C. Balaguer is representing Richards in the civil case, his assistant told CNN. Balaguer has not returned e-mails or voice mail messages CNN has left for him.

This week, after news of Richards’ 2009 case came to light, many took to Twitter to criticize the judge in the case, saying that it echoed a recent Texas case in which a wealthy teenager driving drunk killed four people but received no jail time. Ethan Couch was sentenced last year to 10 years’ probation.

A witness in Couch’s case claimed the teenager was a victim of “affluenza” — the product of wealthy, privileged parents who never set limits for the boy.

Delaware’s Judicial Code of Conduct prohibits Judge Jan R. Jurden from discussing the 2009 ruling with reporters, court spokeswoman Amy Quinlan told CNN.

But at least one member of the Delaware legal community came to Jurden’s defense Tuesday.

“It’s wrong to attribute (the ‘defendant would not fare well’ comment) to Judge Jurden,” said Richard Kirk, a lawyer who is chairman of a Delaware State Bar Association committee that he says steps up to respond “when judges are criticized and unable to speak for themselves.”

Kirk says the argument that Richards would not do well in prison could have been the recommendation of probation or parole officers. However, he said, “common sense suggests that it came from defense counsel.”

As for the prosecutor’s side, the attorney general’s spokesman gave CNN a written statement.

“Cases of child sexual abuse are extremely complicated and difficult,” it read. The objective is to “secure justice in every case to the best of its ability given the unique facts and circumstances presented in each case — sometimes that results in a resolution that is less than what prosecutors would want,” the statement read.

“In this particular case, the facts and circumstances made it unlikely that a conviction could be secured at trial. …This resolution protected the victim and imposed conditions that would make it less likely the defendant could harm others.”

26 comments

  • bran

    less likely my rear end. this sick pig will do it again. they always do. we wonder why our country has gone into the dumps.

  • B

    He would not fare well behind bars?? That’s what punishment is all about. Punishment is not suppose to be pleasant. He’s the worst of the worst and money, like always, kept him out of jail. He raped his own daughter.

  • dewey

    where is Faith with her usually useless comments….everybody else is a thug or a felon…where are your comments on this….or do you condone things like this when done by wealthy white males……I ask cause she’s commented on every story where there is a black or latino involved

    • WeBuiltThisCountry

      The US justice system was written by rich white men so this doesn’t even surprise me! What’s disturbing is most of these men in this situation have wives,co-workers, mothers and fathers that look the other way because they don’t want to damage their businesses or family name.

      • jo

        Let us pray for Faith C, I feel sorry for you. I can not even be mad at you for your biased comments. Either you are a product of failed parenting or society was very cruel to you. Perhaps a latino or AA? They may have rejected you and now you feel compelled to attack those groups. You are sad. I feel VERY sorry for you really!! The crazy think is you hide your ignorant comments behind the internet. You would never say any of your hate to anyone’s face.

      • jo

        Let us pray for Faith C, I feel sorry for you. I can not even be mad at you for your biased comments. Either you are a product of failed parenting or society was very cruel to you. Perhaps a latino or AA? They may have rejected you and now you feel compelled to attack those groups. You are sad. I feel VERY sorry for you really!! The crazy **THING** is you hide your ignorant comments behind the internet. You would never say any of your hate to anyone’s face.

      • FaithC

        I see my stalker is commenting under my named then posting a comment to his own comment. I guess this is what he needs to do to feel he has power in his life.

      • FaithC

        Yes Irene, thats exactly what I’m saying. And jo, why did you write your comment twice? I saw it the 1st time dear, and its rubish.

      • Demoth

        Well Faith; black, white, latino, man, woman… doesn’t matter. Whether you like it or not, data doesn’t prove blacks and latinos commit more crime, simply that they are convicted of more crime. Take that as you want. Fact is, you share something with them that goes beyond their skin color in the rest of the world’s eyes… you, and they, are American. You can try to separate “they’re not my people”, yet you probably reject the same statement made by upstanding blacks and latinos. Soooo, yeah, sorry. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, we’re all in this together so we should probably work together.

      • dewey

        I believe you when you say your stalker did some of these posts….that or you’re Sybil…some of these comments and replies are a bit harsh even for you

    • FaithC

      I am so glad you think so highly of me that you think of me all the time and need my comment, here it is.
      I think her got away with this with no prison time because the judge knew if he did not do this his days as judge were numbered.
      Money talks and this POS will do this again. I think they should put him down like the sick animal he is.
      Do you agree? Or do you think he should be let go?

  • mike

    This is why the judicial system of the United states makes me sick, if you have money you can get away with anything. The moto of the u.s. some liberty and justice for some.

  • David Embler

    Absolutely shameful that we have such a weak justice system that continues to fail! We live in a society that does not support accountability!

    • mary

      FaithC, you are a racist and you don’t have anything interesting or helpful to say on any story. Although, apparantely you do have plenty of time to comment on EVERY SINGLE story that is on here. Do you even have a job? Seriously, you need an intervention with the fox8 people so that you will stop posting DUMBA** comments on here.

      #quitplayingandgetaJOB

  • Angel S.

    How in the world this man did this and basically got away with it is a comment on the justice system today. Also the fact that its been years since it happened and it has just been discovered is horrific as well. I sincerely hope that the mother of these children wins obscene amounts of money in damages. I also hope and pray that now that this has been exposed his life becomes a living hell.

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