Dupont Heir Dodges Child Rape Because He Wouldn’t ‘Fare Well’
A Superior Court judge who sentenced a wealthy du Pont heir to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter noted in her order that he “will not fare well” in prison and needed treatment instead of time behind bars, court records show.
Judge Jan Jurden’s sentencing order for Robert H. Richards IV suggested that she considered unique circumstances when deciding his punishment for fourth-degree rape. Her observation that prison life would adversely affect Richards was a rare and puzzling rationale, several criminal justice authorities in Delaware said. Some also said her view that treatment was a better idea than prison is a justification typically used when sentencing drug addicts, not child rapists.
Let Judge Jan R. Jurden know how you feel and share your thoughts: phone 302.255.0800 fax 302.255.2273
New Castle County
New Castle County Courthouse
500 North King Street
Wilmington, DE 19801
Many people are outraged that a Delaware judge used the words “defendant will not fare well” in jail when considering the sentencing of a rich man who pleaded guilty to raping his 3-year-old daughter.
It doesn’t matter.
Many people are outraged that Robert H. Richards IV’s wealth and connection to the du Pont family might have gotten him probation rather than a prison sentence.
It doesn’t matter.
Some say the judicial guidelines hemmed in Judge Jan Jurden when she pronounced the sentence.
It doesn’t matter.
Earlier story: Police investigated du Pont sex abuse claim
Earlier story: Du Pont heir faces child sex lawsuit
And still others wonder why the Attorney General’s Office allowed a plea bargain to take the case from possible jail time to probation.
That doesn’t matter either.
What matters is that a child rapist walked free. Of course, the legal argument would be that being on probation is a sentence. It is – in some cases. Not in this one. It was more like an inconvenience.
Here’s the point, at this stage in our history, considering what we know about what some people have done and could do to children, there is no excuse for letting a rapist stay out of jail. It doesn’t matter whether he pleaded guilty or was convicted; anyone who rapes his 3-year-old daughter belongs in jail.
He shouldn’t get to freely walk around the streets enjoying the sunshine on a nice day or popping into a coffee shop at will. Freedom like that is reserved for people who obey the law and respect the sanctity of childhood. It’s not for child rapists. The child after all – like all sex abuse victims – lives with the outrage done to her every day. That’s not freedom. That’s a form of punishment – for something she didn’t do.
The case of Robert H. Richards IV raises disturbing questions about our justice system. He is an heir to a fortune. Did that buy him privileges? His family is well-connected. Did that keep him out of jail? Let’s hope not. But the people who run the legal system should recognize that people are asking those questions and wondering. We already know that poor people are executed more often than rich people and that poor people more readily go to jail for drug offenses than rich people. That is horrifying enough. We pray that sex crimes are not added to that sorry list.
One of the defenses offered for what happened is these cases are complicated. We know that. And they have always been complicated. They have never gotten easier. And they probably never will.
What has the legal system done about it? Does the Attorney General’s Office now have a system that screens these cases more thoroughly? Can it say without a doubt that a rich man will not get a break that a poor man would not?
Can the judiciary say the guidelines for this type of crime now can handle the complexity of these cases? Can the Legislature now say there are no holes in the law that allow a rapist to walk free?
These are the questions that matter.
Via Delaware Online