A judge in Delaware sentenced a millionaire du Pont heir to probation for raping his three-year-old daughter, in part because the judge did not think the heir would "fare well" in prison.
In 2009, Delaware Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden sentenced Robert H. Richards IV to eight years in prison but suspended the sentence in lieu of probation. Richards was also ordered "participate in a sex offenders" treatment program in Massachusetts and was forbidden from contact with children 16 and younger.
"[The] defendant will not fare well in Level 5 [prison] setting," Jarden wrote in her order, according to Delaware Online. Raw Story notes that Richards, who is 6'4" and 276 pounds, does not suffer from any physical illnesses or disabilities.
Richards pleaded guilty to fourth-degree rape in 2008, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. The felony charge was publicly released for the first time earlier this month, after Richard's ex-wife filed a lawsuit accusing him of also raping their young son.
From the Detroit Free Press:
The lawsuit claims that Richards raped his daughter, now 11, in 2005 when she was 3. Several times, he entered her bedroom at night while she slept and penetrated her with his fingers while masturbating, said the lawsuit, which includes documents from the criminal case.
Richards told the girl "to keep what he had done to her a secret," but in October 2007 she told her grandmother, who informed Tracy Richards, the lawsuit said. The girl was taken to her pediatrician, whom she told about the abuse, and New Castle County police arrested him that December.
The lawsuits asserts that Roberts also admitted in April 2010, while on probation, that he sexually abused his son. Those assaults began around December 2005, when the boy was 19 months old, and continued for about two years, the lawsuit said.
The admission reportedly came during a polygraph test, during which Richards told his examiner that "was very concerned that something happened with his son but that he has repressed the memories." Since the test, two probation officers have warned the Superior Court of the "the possibility of sexual contact," according to the lawsuit.
Richards, who is unemployed, is the great-grandson of du Pont family patriarch Irenee du Pont; his father is a retired partner in Richards Layton & Finger, a prominent law firm.
"Child protection laws are there to safeguard children, and adults who knowingly harm children should be punished," Kendall Marlowe, executive director of National Association for Counsel for Children, told Raw Story. "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."