A wealthy man who admitted to raping his three-year-old daughter was only given probation instead of a jail sentence because he would “not fare well” in prison, it has been learned. Robert H. Richard IV, heir to the Du Pont chemical company, was sentenced in 2009, but the judge’s decision only became public in March after his ex-wife accused him of sexually abusing his toddler son.
In 2008, Mr Richards, who is unemployed and supported by a trust fund, confessed to the fourth degree raping of his daughter in 2005 when she was just three years old.
The lawsuit, detailed by the Detroit Free Press, claims that he entered her bedroom at night several times. While the girl was sleeping, he masturbated and penetrated her with his fingers.
He told his daughter to “keep what he had done to her a secret,” but in October 2007, she had told her grandmother Donna Burg, who told the girl’s mother, Tracy Richards.
Mr Richards, 46, was charged with two counts of second-degree rape. He initially denied the charges, but later admitted after volunteering for and failing a polygraph examination. He claimed that he was “ill and that he needed medical treatment.”
Second-degree rape is a Class B felony in the state, carrying a mandatory two-year prison term. However, he avoided mandatory prison time by pleading guilty to a single count of fourth-degree rape, a Class C violent felony that does not carry a mandatory minimum sentence, but sentencing guidelines call for up to 30 months in prison.
He was sentenced to eight years in prison, but Delaware Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden suspended that for Level II probation, requiring him with monthly visits with a case officer. He was also ordered to pay USD4395 to the Delaware Violent Crimes Compensation Board.
He was also to “participate in a sex offenders” treatment program, to undergo inpatient treatment followed by outpatient treatment, and to have no contact with children under 16 years old.
“Defendant will not fare well in Level 5 [prison] setting,” the judge wrote in her order, explaining why she let him escape prison sentence, according to the Delaware Online.
It’s worth noting that court records show that Mr Richards, who was listed at 6 ‘4” and weighing between 250 and 276 pounds, did not suffer from any physical illnesses or disabilities.
Mr Richards is from two prominent Delaware families: the du Pont family, known for building the chemical empire, and the Richards family, who cofounded the corporate law firm Richards Layton & Finger.
His case only came to light recently after he has slapped with another sexual abuse lawsuit. Ms Richards, his ex-wife, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, citing the statements that he made while he was on probation and taking a lie detector test.
During the test, Mr Richards told the examiner that he might have also abused his son, who was 19 months old at that time, for two years.
“Whatever I did to my son, I will never do it again,” he had said, expressing his concern that “something happened with his son but that he has repressed the memories.”
Ms Richards accused him of raping their toddler son, but was never prosecuted due to lack of evidence. On Thursday, however, investigators said that they will take another look at the case after Ms Richards filed the new allegations.