Wealthy DuPont Heir Rapes Daughter But is Spared Jail

Richard H. Richard IV, the great-grandson of a chemical magnate living a 1.8 million dollar mansion, has been convicted of raping his now 11 year old daughter back in 2005. After pleading guilty to fourth degree rape of his daughter, he was initially assigned an eight year prison sentence in 2009. Details are only now resurfacing following a lawsuit by his ex-wife that includes sexually abusing not only his daughter, but also his son.

The more recent case includes a statement that Richards admitted to sexually abusing his son in 2010 during a lie detector test, but had repressed his memories. Additionally, he said that what had transpired was similar to that of his daughter and that it would not happen again. Nonetheless,  Judge Jan Jurden reasoned that he “would not fare well in prison,” instead placing Richards on probation for eight years.

Delaware’s law counts fourth degree rape as a violent felony, which would hold a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. A closer look at Delaware’s sentencing commission reveals a recommendation of 0 to 2.5 years in prison, however. Recent details are now surfacing that show that Richards was placed under probation because of a plea bargain agreed upon by prosecutors, allowing him to not face prison time.

However, many still question Judge Jurden’s statement. Her reasoning implies that rehabilitation is more important than punishment. Some argue that although punishment may not always be more important than rehabilitation, that trying to rehabilitate over punish is a strategy typically more conventional in cases of drug abuse rather than rape.

Delaware public defender Brendan J. O’Neill echoes Judge Jurden’s reasoning when saying, “Prison is to punish, to segregate the offender from society, and the notion that prison serves people well hasn’t been proven to be true in most circumstances.” Oddly enough, O’Neill follows by saying that the case may prompt public suspicion over “how a person with great wealth may be treated by the system.” Indeed, these two issues surround the case and concern its legitimacy and degree of justice.


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