NY Daily NewsDu Pont heir dodged prison for raping 3-year-old daughter after judge ruled he 'would not fare well' behind bars
Robert H. Richards IV, 47 — whose great-grandfather was du Pont family patriarch Irenee du Pont — was given just eight years probation after pleading guilty to raping his 3-year-old daughter. But now his ex-wife, Tracy Richards, is suing him for sexually abusing the girl and their young son.
BY Joe Kemp
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Published: Monday, March 31, 2014, 7:50 AM
Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014, 9:48 AM
A du Pont family heir who pleaded guilty nearly six years ago to raping his 3-year-old daughter was never put behind bars because a Delaware judge ruled he “would not fare well” in prison, court records show.
Robert H. Richards IV — scion of the family who built the chemical empire and kin to the co-founders of a prestigious law firm, Richards Layton & Finger — was given eight years probation and was ordered to seek treatment after being convicted of fourth-degree rape in 2008, the records show.
Officials managed to keep the case away from the public spotlight until this month — when his ex-wife, Tracy Richards, filed a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages for abusing their daughter and son, the News Journal reported.
Richards, 47 — whose great-grandfather is du Pont family patriarch Irenee du Pont — has never been criminally charged for crimes against his son.
The recently filed litigation claims that the father — who lives in a $1.8 million mansion near Winterthur Museum — raped his daughter, now 11, several times beginning in 2005, according to the newspaper.
Two years later, when the girl was 5 years old, she told her grandmother, Donna Burg, that she was being sexually abused by Richards, court documents show.
The little girl said her father told her it was “our little secret,” but said she didn’t want the man touching her anymore, according to the court docs.
Tracy Richards, after Burg told her of the sickening abuse, confronted her then-husband and had him arrested for raping the child.
Richards used “his family’s wealth and position in the community” to hire an expensive defense team and denied the charges, according to the lawsuit obtained by the News Journal.
But after failing a polygraph test, he admitted to abusing the little girl. Richards allegedly told investigators “he was ill and that he needed medical treatment,” the lawsuit said.
Richards pleaded guilty in 2008 to fourth-degree rape — a deal that helped him dodge any jail time.
Superior Judge Jan Jurden sentenced Richards to eight years in prison, but suspended the time for probation that requires monthly visits with a case officer.
“Defendant will not fare well in Level 5 setting,” Jurden wrote in her sentencing order. In Delaware’s correctional system, Level 5 is prison.
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