Well, this is quite simply an appalling story. Robert H. Richards IV, an heir to the du Pont fortune, was convicted of raping his then three-year-old daughter and given only probation for the crime, because, as the female Superior Court judge wrote in her decision, “Defendant will not fare well in Level 5 [prison] setting.”
Judge Jan Jurden suggested that Richards would benefit more from treatment rather than prison time, but while it’s not unheard of for a judge to make that call, usually it’s done when sentencing drug addicts not child rapists. Defense attorneys have also been known to argue against prison time for clients who are frail or ill, but Richards is reportedly in fine health. Listen, I’m all for prison reform and making the living conditions inside meet a certain safety standard, but last time I checked, child rapists shouldn’t get off with just probation because prison isn’t pleasant. WTF is going on here?
Perhaps this is simply a case of how far money can go in our criminal justice system. Richards is unemployed and supports himself off of a trust fund bankrolled by his family, which includes his great-grandfather, the du Pont family patriarch, and his father, a very successful lawyer. In December 2007, Richards daughter, then 5, told her grandmother that her father had been molesting her; Richards later admitted to the crime, saying “it was an accident and he would never do it again.” His ex-wife also accused him in a lawsuit of molesting their 18-month-old son as well. I’m guessing Richards had the best lawyer a rich child rapist’s money can buy, but I am still failing to understand how a judge could let this man off the hook simply because he wouldn’t, I don’t know, thrive in prison. It’s not fucking summer camp.
Honestly, I don’t even know what to say. This is repulsive. [Raw Story]