- The Washington Times - Friday, February 4, 2005

For the second time in six years, a Derwood man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping his stepdaughter, whom he began to abuse when she was 9.

Sidney R. Richardson’s first 10-year sentence in 1998 for raping his stepdaughter was shortened to 18 months by Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Durke G. Thompson.

Judge Thompson then allowed Richardson back into the girl’s home, at the request of her mother.

Yesterday, Richardson, 53, received the maximum sentence of 10 years from Judge Louise G. Scrivener after pleading guilty to one count of third-degree sex offense. Richardson again raped his stepdaughter after being released from prison, this time impregnating her at 14.

“It’s indefensible and without any plausible justification whatsoever for a grown man who has raped an 11-year-old girl, been convicted of that rape, to be placed back in that same situation, in that household, when that girl is still a minor,” said Douglas F. Gansler, state’s attorney for the county.

“Fortunately, Judge Scrivener understood the situation and handed out the maximum sentence.”

Judge Thompson has come under fire for other decisions and statements.

In January 2000, he said it took “two to tango” in the case of an 11-year-old girl who was molested by a 23-year-old man whom she met on the Internet.

The girl said she had sex with the man, although he admitted only to performing oral sex on her. Judge Thompson placed partial blame on the girl for inviting the man into her room, which outraged victims’ rights groups, women’s groups and some lawmakers.

Judge Thompson apologized for the comment and said it was taken out of context. However, he received a warning from the state Commission on Judicial Disabilities.

The judge joined the court in 1994 and holds an elected seat until 2011.

He and wife, Lea Thompson, a reporter for the “Dateline NBC” TV news magazine, have raised three daughters.

Mr. Gansler has been at odds with the Judge Thompson for several years.

In 2002, the prosecutor’s office issued a press release titled, “Two to Tango Judge Dances Again,” after Judge Thompson overturned a jury conviction of a man accused of second-degree rape and ordered a new trial, The Washington Post reported.

Judge Thompson will have an opportunity on Feb. 24 to reinstate the remainder of Richardson’s initial sentence when he comes before the judge for a parole violation.

Richardson violated his parole by fleeing his wife’s home and the area in May 2002, emptying his bank account and quitting his job, after his wife began to suspect him of impregnating her daughter.

Authorities found and arrested Richardson in the District in June, and DNA testing confirmed that he had fathered his stepdaughter’s child.


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