A Delaware Superior Court judge, Jan Jurden, is under fire after sending a wealthy heir to the DuPont fortune to treatment rather than prison because Robert H. Richards IV would “not fare well” in prison after being convicted of raping his 3-year-old daughter. [A review of the record shows the concern raised about not faring well in prison but it is not clear how stated this concern. The Judge did express concern over the lack of jail time, though it is not clear why the Judge approved the sentence]
Jurten was convicted of fourth degree rape. Under state law, fourth degree rape is defined as:
§ 770 Rape in the fourth degree; class C felony.
(a) A person is guilty of rape in the fourth degree when the person:
(1) Intentionally engages in sexual intercourse with another person, and the victim has not yet reached that victim’s sixteenth birthday; or
(2) Intentionally engages in sexual intercourse with another person, and the victim has not yet reached that victim’s eighteenth birthday, and the person is 30 years of age or older, except that such intercourse shall not be unlawful if the victim and person are married at the time of such intercourse; or
(3) Intentionally engages in sexual penetration with another person under any of the following circumstances:
a. The sexual penetration occurs without the victim’s consent; or
b. The victim has not reached that victim’s sixteenth birthday.
Richard was accused of rape after his ex-wife Tracy filed a lawsuit over the abuse of his daughter. Richards lives off a trust fund and has no job. His great-grandfather is du Pont family patriarch Irenee du Pont, and his father is Robert H. Richards III and was a named partner at the Richards Layton & Finger law firm. He lives in a mansion worth $1.8 million in Greenville. He was accused of sexually abusing his infant son between 2005 and 2007 as well as his daughter starting when she was 3. He was originally indicted on two counts of second-degree rape of a child. After the girl described sexual abuse, Tracy Richards confronted her then-husband who allegedly admitted to the abuse but said “it was an accident and he would never do it again.”
Richards took a plea to one count of rape in the fourth degree, which has no mandatory time but can result in up to 15 years in jail.
The plea bargain likely reflected the challenge of any trial based on dated accounts of a very young child. However, what Richards did plead guilty to fourth degree rape, still a very serious offense. The question is whether it is appropriate for such a felon to be spared jail due to the adjustment needed in going from a mansion to a prison cell. For some it reminds them of the recent affluenza case in Texas.
Defense lawyer Joseph A. Hurley insisted that the court got it right: “Sex offenders are the lowest of the low in prison. 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.”
What do you think?
Source: Delaware Online