*A judge in Delaware has decided not to send admitted child molester Robert H. Richards IV to jail.
Her reasoning: Because he “will not fare well.”
Appearing to make this ruling with a straight face, Judge Jan Jurden managed to even surprise attorneys who are familiar with her usually ‘tough’ stance.
Richards was charged with the fourth-degree rape of his 3-year-old daughter in 2009, but this light sentence was made public because of a subsequent lawsuit filed by his ex-wife, which charges that he penetrated his daughter with his fingers while masturbating, and subsequently assaulted his son as well.
One can only wonder at this point if the fact that he is the great grandson of the wealthy du Pont family had anything to do with her decision.
Judge Jurden justified her decision saying Richards, an unemployed heir who lives off of the family trust, would benefit from participating in a sex offenders rehabilitation program rather than serving prison time.
He was convicted of raping his three-year-old daughter in 2009, but only faced probation after the ruling by Jurden.
According to the lawsuit filed by Richards’ ex-wife, he admitted to assaulting his infant son in addition to his daughter, between 2005 and 2007. He was initially indicted on two counts of second-degree child rape, felonies that translate to a 10-year mandatory jail sentence per count. He was released on $60,000 bail while awaiting his charges.
With the resources to hire one of the state’s top law firms, Richards was offered a plea deal of one count of fourth-degree rape charges — which carries no mandatory minimum prison sentencing. He accepted, and admitted to the assault.
Delaware Public Defender Brendan J. O’Neill told The News Journal that it was “extremely rare” for an individual to fare well in prison. “Prison is to punish, to segregate the offender from society, and the notion that prison serves people well hasn’t proven to be true in most circumstances,” he said, adding that the light sentence for the member of the one percent raised questions about “how a person with great wealth may be treated by the system.”
Kendall Marlowe, executive director of the National Association for Counsel for Children, told The News Journal that sex offenders are jailed for the safety of the children they threaten.
“Child protection laws are there to safeguard children, and adults who knowingly harm children should be punished,” she said. “Our prisons should be more rehabilitative environments, but the prison system’s inadequacies are not a justification for letting a child molester off the hook.”
Thanks to Huffington Post for excerpts in this story.