A 2008 child sexual abuse case involving one of Delaware's most prominent names is back in the spotlight.
The case involves the great grandson of Irenee Du Pont. The charges involve his children and were brought forward by the children's mother, Tracy Richards who is seeking monetary damages for their personal injuries.
"They face not only major counseling expenses but like all victims they face a lifetime of problems," said Attorney Thomas Crumplar of Wilmington who's representing Tracy Richards.
On Tuesday, Richards filed a lawsuit against her former husband Robert Richards IV, an heir to the Du Pont family fortune. In 2008, Richards IV, 47, pleaded guilty in Superior Court to the felony that included one count of intentional 4th degree rape and sexual penetration of his daughter who was 3 years old when the abuse started. According to the lawsuit, Richards IV later admitted to more sexual abuse in 2010 that began when his son was just 19 months. The lawsuit claims he initially denied any abuse prior to failing a lie detector test six years ago. He was never criminally charged with abusing his son however.
"Making matters worse this self admitted rapist and child abuser has not paid a single penny to these children for his crimes. There is no provision whatsoever for them for their future after they turn 18," said Crumplar who stood alongside Tracy and her mother Donna Burg during a press conference. Burg, the maternal grandmother, is the one who alarmed Tracy of the abuse after talking to one of the grandchildren in 2007.
Although many years have passed since the sexual abuse case was heard in court, Richards is now concerned about obtaining medical care for her children who could suffer long term injuries such as depression, suicidal thoughts or substance abuse. It's believed that memories of abuse could begin to resurface therefore treatment is necessary for the children who are presently 11 and 9 years old.
The office of Eugene Maurer who represented Richards IV in 2008 confirmed that the defendant never served jail time for sexual abuse. However Richards IV was admitted into several medical treatment facilities including one in Chester, PA and still remains on probation. However, according to Crumplar, his client, the children's mother, still has concerns.
"She is worried that her children may not have been the first to be abused by her husband, he had been a camp counselor before, so she calls upon anyone who may know anything about Robert H. Richards IV to come forward to help her, her children and any other victims," said Crumplar.
Irenee Du Pont was the patriarch of the Delaware Du Pont family. His daughter was Mariana DuPont Stillman, once listed as one of the 300 richest people in the United States. The Stillman's had a daughter, Mariana, who married Robert Richards III. Robert Richards IV is their son.