Robert H. Richards IV does not work. He doesn’t have to. The great-grandson of Irénée du Pont, the chemical magnate who provided much of the financial backing to a failed effort to defeat Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the 1930s, Richards lives off a trust fund in a 5,800 square foot mansion he bought for $1.8 million. When he is not staying in his mansion, he might be found in his beach home “in the exclusive North Shores neighborhood near Rehoboth Beach.”
Richards is also a child rapist.
In 2005, Richards started sexually abusing his three year-old daughter. The abuse ended two years later when the girl told her grandmother that she didn’t want “my daddy touching me anymore.” When Richards’ former wife confronted him this abuse, Richards admitted to doing so but claimed “it was an accident and he would never do it again.”
And yet, Robert Richards, who raped his own child and then told her not to tell anyone so that it could be “our little secret,” will likely not spend a day in prison. Although Richards was originally charged with two counts of second-degree rape of a child — counts that carry a mandatory 10 year prison term — the prosecutor offered him a plea bargain just days before the trial. Richards admitted in open court that he abused his daughter, and he plead to a single count of fourth-degree rape, a much less serious crime with no mandatory minimum.
Though the maximum sentence for fourth-degree rape is 15 years in prison, the prosecution recommended that Richards only receive probation. And Judge Jan Jurden largely agreed. Though she sentenced Richards to an eight-year prison term, she immediately suspended the term in favor of probation. Richards, Jurden wrote in her sentencing order, “will not fare well” if he is sentenced to prison.