Rape Culture Is Real

Sure, it’s hard out there for rape victims, but what about how hard it is for the rapist? Especially wealthy rapists? Who’s thinking about their needs? Luckily we have judges like Jan Jurden.

A Du Pont family heir [Robert Richards IV] 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…“Defendant will not fare well in Level 5 setting,” Judge Jan Jurden wrote in her sentencing order. In Delaware’s correctional system, Level 5 is prison…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.

So what we’re teaching our society is if you have money and you’re wealthy the law doesn’t apply to you. Good job, America. The three year old was probably asking for it because of what she was wearing anyway.

Also on today’s show, we  also discuss World Autism Awareness Day, OKCupid urging a boycott of Mozilla because of the CEO’s gay marriage views, and Mississippi takes a page from Arizona’s crappy playbook.

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13 replies
  1. 1
    Tara the Antisocial Social Worker says:

    Time published something the other day dismissing the idea of rap culture because “rapists are despised.” Zerlina Maxwell observed that’s only true if the rapist isn’t a friend/relative/acquaintance/colleague/celebrity. And every rapist is somebody’s friend/relative/acquaintance/colleague. In which case, as Whoopi Goldberg said in her entry for the dumbest statement ever, it’s “not rape rape.”

  2. 2

    Why is it so hard to decouple wealth and morality? Oh yeah, Ayn Rand.

  3. 3
    jayackroyd says:

    I sent this story off to Peter Moskos, and he posted the following:


  4. 4
    Mnemosyne says:

    Interesting blog post from the Huntington Library. They have a very large Civil War collection and a researcher discovered a reference to Solomon Northup in one of the Civil War diaries he was reading. Short version: many of the abolitionist Union soldiers sought out the locations they had read about in abolitionist essays and newspapers, including the plantation where Northup was held prisoner. The soldier whose diary it was found himself in the right area and talked to a few of the older former slaves who remembered Northup.

  5. 5
    Cervantes says:

    What the judge did is enough to discuss, but there’s more to the Richards case than that:

    State Attorney General Beau Biden’s office had initially indicted Richards on two counts of second-degree rape of a child – Class B violent felonies that carry a mandatory 10-year prison term for each count.

    According to the arrest warrant filed by a New Castle County Police Detective JoAnna Burton in December 2007, the girl, then 5, told her grandmother, Donna Burg, that Richards sexually abused her. Burg said the child reported that her father told her it was “our little secret” but said she didn’t want “my daddy touching me anymore.” Tracy Richards, who confronted her then-husband, told police he admitted abusing his daughter but said “it was an accident and he would never do it again,” the warrant said.

    Richards was free on $60,000 secured bail while awaiting trial on the charges that could have put him behind bars for years.

    But in June 2008, just days before a scheduled trial, prosecutor Renee Hrivnak offered Richards a plea to a single count of fourth-degree rape, which carries no mandatory time, and he accepted, admitting in court that he abused his child. “It was more than reasonable, an enlightened plea offer,” Richards attorney Eugene J. Maurer Jr. said. Fourth-degree rape is a Class C violent felony that by law can bring up to 15 years in prison, though guidelines suggest zero to 2 1/2 years in prison.

    At Richards’ February 2009 sentencing, Hrivnak recommended probation, Biden’s chief deputy Ian R. McConnel said, adding that in retrospect he wished she would have sought prison time. Hrivnak would not comment.

    Biden spokesman Jason Miller said the attorney general – who routinely hails the prosecution of child predators as a top priority for his office – did not know about the case. Miller said only Hrivnak and her supervisor, Allison Texter, were part of the decision on how to resolve the case. Texter, who is now in private practice in Wilmington, did not return calls for comment.

  6. 6
    Starfish says:

    Rape culture doesn’t exist at Harvard either.

  7. 7
    WaterGirl says:

    @Starfish: Well, fuck. That was depressing. It was all I could do to make myself continue reading all the way to the end.

  8. 8
    cokane says:

    havent listened to the show but theres more to it than just what the post says. the court is also valuing the needs of certain people better. if a skinny 18 year old black dude raped his daughter, he probably wouldn’t fare well in prison either. but no one would care

  9. 9
    Mnemosyne says:


    I have to admit, after looking at that my first assumption is bribery, whether straightforward or more quid pro quo.

  10. 10
    mdblanche says:

    “…’We call ourselves the Aristocrats!'”

  11. 11
    Paul in KY says:

    I think the rapist being white also helped (along with the oodles of money).

  12. 12
    Ken in NJ says:

    There is a more to this case than “Child Molester, Rich White Guy, OMFG RAPE CULTURE PRIVILEGE”

    For those who are actually more inclined to allow themselves to think about the facts, rather than react to the headlines, there is more information out there.

  13. 13
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Ken in NJ: A good read, and looks like a blog to bookmark. Perhaps the class war issues are and should be orthogonal to what should be blind justice, but one can’t help but notice that only some people are entitled such nuanced readings.

    In any case, thank the FSM for public defenders. Even if having one in such a trial would be a literal death sentence.

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