Robert H. Richards IV, 47, who is supported by a trust fund and who paid $1.8 million for his 5,800-square-foot mansion near Winterthur Museum, pleaded guilty in 2008 to fourth-degree rape of his daughter. Currently on probation, he has never been charged with crimes against his son.
The lawsuit provides in-depth details about a child rape case that Delaware authorities never disclosed publicly and did not receive media attention.
Richards is a scion of two prominent Delaware families — the du Pont family who built the chemical empire and the Richards family who co-founded the prestigious corporate law firm Richards Layton & Finger. Du Pont family patriarch Irenee du Pont is his great grandfather. His father, Robert H. Richards III, was a partner in the law firm until his 2008 retirement.
In June 2008, he avoided mandatory prison time by pleading guilty to a single count of fourth-degree rape in a deal arranged by Maurer and prosecutor Renee Hrivnak, court records show. Fourth-degree rape is a Class C violent felony that under Delaware law can bring a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, but does not carry a mandatory minimum sentence. Sentencing guidelines used by judges and lawyers call for up to 30 months in prison.
Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden sentenced Richards to eight years in prison but suspended that for Level II probation, which requires monthly visits with a case officer. Jurden also ordered him to pay $4,395 to the Delaware Violent Crimes Compensation Board, records filed with the lawsuit show.
The lawsuits asserts that Roberts also admitted in April 2010, while on probation, that he sexually abused his son. Those assaults began around December 2005, when the boy was 19 months old, and continued for about two years, the lawsuit said.
The revelations allegedly came while Richards was taking a lie detector test, ordered in an attempt to get Richards to be more forthcoming about his sexual history. Richards told the examiner he "was very concerned that something happened with his son but that he has repressed the memories,' " He told the examiner he worried that his acts were "similar to what happened with his daughter," the lawsuit said. "But he promised that whatever I did to my son, I will never do it again."
Du Pont heir accused of raping 2nd child in lawsuit (external - login to view)