Child Abuse

Horrifying du Pont Heir Case Proves The Affluenza Defense Works For Baby Rapists, Too

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1396212401000-wildc5-6ehdlb201ybix4mc8ky-originalHope you had a great weekend, because I am about to destroy your faith in everything – and probably send you back to bed. A wealthy Du Pont heir was sentenced to probation for raping his three-year-old daughter, because the judge thinks he “will not fare well” in prison. Since when do we care about that? The guy isn’t old or dying – he’s a child rapist.

Robert H. Richards IV, one of the heirs to the Du Pont fortune, was initially indicted on two counts of second-degree rape of a child – a Class B violent felony that carries a mandatory 10-year prison term for each count. Delaware Online reports that “in June 2008, just days before a scheduled trial, prosecutor Renee Hrivnak offered Richards a plea to a single count of fourth-degree rape, which carries no mandatory time, and he accepted, admitting in court that he abused his child.” He initially denied the charges, but after failing a lie detector test admitted to the rape: “Later while taking another lie detector test, he all but admitted to the abuse of his son.”

The 2009 case became public this month after his ex-wife filed a lawsuit seeking “compensatory and punitive damages” for the abuse of his daughter. The lawsuit accuses him of admitting to sexually abusing his infant son between 2005 and 2007, the same time period that he admitted to abusing his daughter starting at the age of three. Police investigated the allegations regarding the infant son in 2010, but claimed to not have enough evidence to file charges.

Judge Jan Jurden decided on an eight-year prison term for Richards, but suspended all the prison time for probation:

“Defendant will not fare well in Level 5 setting,” said the final line of her sentencing order. In Delaware’s correctional system, Level 5 is prison.

Joseph S. Grubb, chief New Castle County prosecutor, said he was not involved in the case, but stressed that whether Richards’ might suffer or thrive in prison was not something prosecutors considered.

“It’s not a concern for us,” Grubb said. “We try to do the right thing in each case. Absent that equation is the physical condition of the defendant.”

‘Defendant will not fare well in Level 5 setting?’ Who cares? He raped his three-year-old daughter and allegedly raped his infant son, too. He’s a child predator which means he would be segregated from the general population anyway. Oh, he’s also a monster, so why this judge decided to care about his well being at all is really suspect. Do we sentence people to prison terms because it’s in their best interests, or because they have been convicted of crimes that carry a punishment?

Defense lawyer Joseph A. Hurley said it makes sense to him that the judge would be concerned about Richards’ time in prison.

“Sure, they have protective custody, but that is solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. We’re not a third-world society,” Hurley said.

“Sex offenders are the lowest of the low in prison,” Hurley said. “He’s a rich, white boy who is a wuss and a child perv. The prison can’t protect them, and Jan Jurden knows that reality. She is right on.”

I’m just going to leave you with that. I have no words.

(photo: Delaware Online)