It’s OK to Be a Child Rapist if You’re Rich?


 Rape of the Sabine Women – Pablo Picasso

Rape is a zero tolerance crime of violence, especially heinous when children are the victims. So why should the rich get away without jail time?

Robert H. Richards, heir to the du Pont family fortune, was convicted of raping his 3 year old daughter. (He was also charged with molesting his 18-month-old son but the evidence came up short for a conviction). Richards was sentenced to 8 years in prison. Delaware Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden in her “great wisdom” decided to suspend the prison sentence since the “Defendant will not fare well in Level 5 [prison] setting.”

The outrage here is clear and self-evident. The message here from the Judge is both disturbing and horrifying and makes it clear that you can get away with pretty much anything in America if you have enough money and connections, including raping and molesting your toddler and baby children.

“It’s an extremely rare circumstance that prison serves the inmate well,” said Delaware Public Defender Brendan J. O’Neill, whose office represents defendants who normally cannot afford a lawyer. “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.”

“O’Neill explained that he has previously argued that case if a defendant was too ill or frail for prison, but he had never seen a judge cite it as a ‘reason not to send someone to jail.’

Important to note that Robert Richards, the defendant rapist here, is actually 6 feet, 4 inches tall, 250 to 276 pounds, not exactly a frail defendant, and although he would clearly not fare well in prison as a child molester, when was that ever a reason not to send such a monster to jail?


The are 3 main reasons that justify sending people who are convicted of crimes to jail:

  1. Retribution
  2. Deterrence
  3. Rehabilitation

Sexual crimes seem to sometimes receive an uneven and perplexing leniency of sentences in our justice system:

1. In Alabama, convicted rapist Austin Smith Clem, convicted of raping his young neighbor when she was 14 years old and again when she was 18 years old got his 40 year sentence suspended in full by Judge James Woodroof

2. In Montana, Judge G. Todd  Rambold suspended all but 30 days of a 15 year sentence for Stacy Dean Rambold convicted of having sex with his 14 year old student, who later took her own life. The rational the judge came up with was “It was no a violent, forcible, beat-the-victim rape, like you see in the movies.”

In a case of sexual molestations and violence against anyone ,but especially against young children, clearly the first two justifications should be given much more weight than the 3rd.  The court and prosecutor–as representatives of the people­­–should be sending the right message to society as a whole and to deviant predators in particular, that crimes of this nature would be prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law and with complete disregard to the wealth and social status of the defendant. It is and should be a zero tolerance crime with no mitigating circumstances and should be treated as such. Psychiatric help, which Mr. Richards is clearly in dire need of, should be provided within a prison facility where he and his dangerous and violent proclivities will have no access to any more victims.

Photo: Renzo dionigi /Flicker

Photo 2 : Robert H. Richards IV / Public Domain









About Tsach Gilboa

Tsach Gilboa is an explorer of life, humanity, love and the meaning of it all and might just be here on loan from another dimension. An editor at The Good Men Project, he is a dad, writer, lawyer, entrepreneur and blogger. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter and find his writings on his blog Conversations With A Mad Man


  1. Tsach Gilboa says:

    Although the reality spelled out in bobbt’s comment is sad we do have a voice and power. We should all contact our representatives and demand action. We can start by signing this petition to the Delaware house demanding a hearing on this travesty of justice

  2. Yup! We have the best justice system money can buy(as it all too often does)

    • I wish GMP had the option of “liking” comments, because yours deserves about 1,000 “likes.” Very sad, and very true.

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