Wealthy du Pont heir given probation for raping 3-year-old daughter, judge said he ‘will not fare well’ in prison

du Pont heir Robert H. Richards IV mug shot photo

Outrage is building over details that recently emerged about a rape case from 2009 in which Robert H. Richards IV, a wealthy du Pont family heir, was given no prison time after pleading guilty to raping his three-year-old daughter. Delaware Judge Jan Jurden said in her sentencing order that Richards “will not fare well in prison.”

The ruling was revealed after Richards’ ex-wife, Tracy Richards, filed a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages for his abuse of their daughter, according to Delaware Online. Richards was indicted on two counts of second-degree rape, a Class-B felony, by a grand jury, and if convicted on both counts, he faced a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison. But, he struck a plea deal in which he plead guilty to fourth-degree rape, a Class-C felony.

Richards was given an eight-year sentence, but it was suspended in its entirety by Judge Jurden, who wrote “Defendant will not fare well in Level 5 (i.e. prison) setting,” in the last line of her sentencing order. Richards was ordered to participate in a sex offenders treatment program — first inpatient, and then outpatient.

Richards was placed on Level 3 probation for eight months, during which he was required to check in with a probation officer on a weekly basis. After that he was bumped to Level 2 probation, which meant his meetings with a probation officer were once a month.

Judge Jurden also ordered that Richards was to have no contact with children under 16 and he was not allowed to be in possession of pornography.

Robert H. Richards national sex offender registry

According to the police warrant, Richards admitted the abuse of his daughter, but said “it was an accident and he would never do it again.” (Judging from the description of the abuse from the arrest warrant — too graphic to include here — there is no way this was any sort of accident.)

Also revealed in the lawsuit was that Richards was investigated in 2010 for molesting his toddler son. “Those assaults began around December 2005, when the boy was 19 months old, and continued for about two years,” Delaware Online says of the claim made in the lawsuit.

From Delaware Online:

The lawsuit said Richards made statements that equate to admitting abusing his son after probation officials who thought he was making “little progress” in group therapy had him take a polygraph exam, according to a probation progress report filed with Superior Court in September 2010.

Police are reportedly looking into reopening the case involving his son.

du Pont heir Robert Richards IV mugshot

Richards, 47, is the unemployed descendant of both the du Pont family and the Richards family, the former of which built DuPont Chemicals and the latter included his dad, Robert H. Richards III, who was a partner in the Richards Layton & Finger law firm. Richards lives off a trust fund and reportedly owns at least two homes — a 5,800-square-foot mansion in Greenville, Delaware, that he paid $1.8 million for in 2005, and another one in a wealthy neighborhood near Rehoboth Beach.

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