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Heir to du Pont Estate Receives Reduced Sentence in Child Rape Case

A Superior Court judge has ruled that a Delaware man who was convicted of raping his three-year-old daughter will serve probation. The judge ruled that the man “will not fare well” in prison, according to The Huffington Post.

Judge Jan Jurden said that Robert H. Richards IV would be better off receiving more treatment. Richards was charged with fourth-degree rape back in 2009. He is unemployed and living off a trust fund as an heir. The sentence was only made public because of a lawsuit filed by the man’s ex-wife. The lawsuit claims that Richards used his fingers to penetrate his daughter while he masturbated. The lawsuit also claims that he assaulted his son too.

Richards is the great-grandson of du Pont family patriarch Irenee du Pont.

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The lawsuit filed by his ex-wife says that Richards admitted to assaulting his infant son as well as his daughter from 2005 to 2007. Richards was originally indicted on two counts of second-degree child rape. These are felonies that come with 10-year mandatory jail terms per count. While waiting for the charges, Richards was released on $60,000 bail.

Richards was offered a plea deal of one count of fourth-degree rape charges. This comes with no mandatory jail time. Richards accepted the deal and admitted to assaulting the children. Jurden said during her sentencing that Richards would benefit from taking part in sex offender rehabilitation programs instead of going to prison.

Brendan J. O’Neill, a public defender in Delaware, spoke with the News Journal. O’Neill said, “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.” O’Neill also said that the light sentence for Richards, who is a member of the one-percent, could raise questions about “how a person with great wealth may be treated by the system.”

The executive director of the National Association for Counsel for Children, Kendall Marlowe, said, “Child protection laws are there to safeguard children, and adults who knowingly harm children should be punished,” she said. “Our prisons should be more rehabilitative environments, but the prison system’s inadequacies are not a justification for letting a child molester off the hook.”

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