Whitewashed: DuPont Heir Avoids Jail Time for Child Rape

(Delaware, 2014) A criminal case involving child sexual abuse has ignited a firestorm of national controversy due to lenient sentencing by a judge. Critics of the sentencing claim the wealth and power of the defendant, who admitted to raping his two children after failing a polygraph test, has influenced the ruling.

In a 2009 child rape case, Robert H. Richards IV —a duPont family heir–was convicted of 4th degree rape for assaulting his 3 year old daughter. The duPont family is an influential family, and historically, one of the most prestigious in Delaware. Richards IV admitted to (but was never charged with) also raping his infant son. In a shocking turn of events, Richards IV will not serve any jail time but instead, be paroled. 

Robert H. Richards IV (http://www.delawareonline.com)

Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden said to Richards IV during sentencing that she had “concerns” but was willing to overlook them, “But I think that you have significant treatment needs that have to be addressed, and you have very strong family support..” Judge Jurden released Richards IV out on parole, noting that he “will not fare well” in prison and needed treatment instead of jail time. Reports indicate that Richards IV has not entered treatment.  Judge Jan Jurden sentenced Richards to eight years in prison but suspended that for higher level of probation that requires frequent visits with a case officer. Judge Jurden also ordered him to pay $4,395 to the Delaware Violent Crimes Compensation Board. Richards IV will also have to register as a sex offender.

Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden (Photo: Jennifer Corbett/The News Journal)

This self-confessed, admitted rapist and child abuser didn’t go to jail, and, in fact, he stays in luxury where he has always been,” said attorney Thomas C. Crumplar, who represents the children and Richards’ ex-wife Tracy Richards, during a news conference.

In March 2014, Tracy filed a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages for assault, negligence and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress on the two children. The lawsuit drew national attention to this case, which had initially received no media attention, and was ignored until the filing of the lawsuit. An undisclosed settlement was reached in June 2014.

Read More: 

“Du Pont heir, ex-wife settle child abuse suit” by Cris Barrish, The News Journal, 6/28/2014: http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2014/06/27/du-pont-heir-ex-wife-settle-child-sexual-abuse-lawsuit/11578711/

Heir’s sentence raises questions in child rape case” by Cris Barrish, The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal, 3/30/2014: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/03/30/wealthy-heirs-sentence-raises-questions-in-child-rape-case/7061933/

Unequal Justice: Du Pont heir’s rape sentence uncommon” by Cris Barrish, The News Journal, 5/30/2014: http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2014/05/30/sunday-preview-th-degree-rape-sentences-vary/9777505/

Judge who sentenced DuPont heir to probation expressed concern about no jail time, transcript shows” by Debra Cassens Weiss, Aba Journal, 4/10/2014: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/judge_who_sentenced_dupont_heir_to_probation_expressed_concern_about_no_jai 



About EJ

Parenting Abused Kids (PAK) reflects the personal thoughts and opinions of "EJ" sharing her experiences of surviving domestic abuse and injustice in family court. PAK also includes news and informational articles about abuse and family court issues. The purpose of PAK is to raise awareness of the challenges domestic abuse survivors to rebuild their lives after experiencing domestic abuse, compounded with the struggles of ongoing family court litigation. PAK will also discuss and raise awareness about issues related to parenting children who have been abused, and often present with emotional and behavioral problems. Parenting Abused Kids is not affiliated with any professional group, political group, organization or religious affiliation. My sincere love and support goes out to abuse survivors and their children. I am so sorry for what you have endured, and pray your lives will be filled with the happiness you so deserve. Thank-you for visiting!
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