In today’s episode of Privilege over Justice, we’ll turn our attention to Robert H. Richards IV, the du Pont heir who raped his then 3 year old daughter and 19 month old son in 2005. He pled guilty to fourth-degree rape in 2008. Delaware Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden sentenced him to 8 years in prison, but then commuted the sentence to probation after claiming that Richards would not “fare well” in prison. Richards, who stands at 6’4 and weighs 264 lbs, is not disabled.
The timeline is a bit confusing. The rape of the daughter occurred in 2005, when she was only 3. In October 2007, she told her grandmother, who then told Terry Richards, her mother. The Delaware State Attorney General got a grand jury indictment for two counts of second-degree rape, a felony which carries a mandatory 2 year prison term per conviction, and up to 25 years in prison.
Richards denied the charges, and volunteered to take a polygraph test, which he failed. During the test, he admitted to the abuse of not only his daughter, but also his son. He was never charged for raping his son. In June 2008, he pleaded guilty to a single count of fourth-degree rape. In this deal, he avoided mandatory prison time, but the charge carries a sentence of up to 15 years.
Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden sentenced Richards to eight years in prison but suspended that for Level II probation. Richards was ordered a mental health evaluation, treatment, and not to have contact with children under 16. Richards was ordered to pay $4,395 to the Delaware Violent Crimes Compensation Board.
Richards is required meet with a caseworker on a monthly basis. In a 2012 progress report, his probation officer noted that there are “there are concerns about Mr. Richards’ past offenses concerning his son.” Again, the son has yet to receive justice in the court of law.
On Tuesday, Terry Richards, his ex-wife and mother of the two survivors, filed a Superior Court lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages. Rightfully so.
In yet another example of how the criminal justice system works to the advantage of the rich and privileged, Richards received a slap on the wrist for a heinous crime that already is so difficult to prosecute. It’s difficult receiving justice for child victims given their vulnerability. Children are easily intimidated and manipulated. It’s very rare for a child to come forward and for their allegations to be taken seriously. They also face brutal cross-examinations.
There is no gray area here. Richards ADMITTED to wrongdoing, and still was given a free pass to potentially harm another victim.
They say money can’t buy happiness… but it can buy freedom.