Chambers sentenced to nearly a millennium for child rape

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·5 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Richard Chambers
    Richard Chambers
    British rower

Nov. 17—A Ghent man has been sentenced to 855 years in prison on charges related to the sexual assault of his wife's granddaughter, Raleigh County Circuit Court Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick ruled Wednesday.

Richard Chambers, 56, was convicted in August on six counts of first-degree sexual assault, six counts of incest, six counts of first-degree sexual abuse and seven counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in position of trust.

He was found ineligible for alternative sentencing, based on jurors' decision at his trial.

The victim was around 3 years old when the abuse began and was about 7 years old when Chambers was arrested in 2018.

Raleigh Prosecuting Attorney Ben Hatfield asked Kirkpatrick to give the maximum sentence permitted under law, which was 255 to 855 years in prison.

"Where we put him on that continuum will indicate how bad we think he is," said Hatfield. "I think Mr. Chambers is 'the worst of the worst.'

"I think he's the worst I've ever seen."

Public defender Stacey Fragile said in court on Wednesday that Chambers maintains his innocence and had lived a "quiet" life from 1999 until 2018, when he was arrested for raping the child.

"My client, to this day, maintains his innocence in this matter," said Fragile. "While he has accepted the jury's verdict, he does still maintain his innocence.

"My client is 56 years old," she added. "Should he get out of prison one day, he will still be a very elderly man."

She added that he would still be under lifetime supervision as a sex offender.

Chambers, who appeared onscreen via satellite from Southern Regional Jail, was dressed in an orange jumpsuit and was wearing a long beard. He also addressed Kirkpatrick, his family, media and those in the gallery.

"The good Lord Jesus Christ knows, and she knows, in that little child's heart, I've done nothing I'm accused of," said Chambers. "Nothing, whatsoever."

Chambers wrote a letter to Kirkpatrick, which the judge said he had received and read. Chambers said the letter would take 30 minutes to read aloud and that he did not want to prolong the hearing by reading it in court.

"But I'd like my family, the family I used to have, that was there (to know), I'm totally, one thousand percent an innocent man, and what man believes and what man knows is of little consequence," Chambers said.

"It's what God knows that counts," he continued. "And no disrespect to you, your honor, but he is the only true judge I'll ever have to stand in front of."

The victim had written a letter just prior to the hearing and had asked that her guardian ad litem read the letter in court. The ad litem was willing to do it and had submitted the letter to the court at 9:13 a.m.

Chamber's sentencing hearing was set initially for 9 a.m. but did not start until around 9:20 a.m., due to another sentencing that Kirkpatrick was hearing.

At Fragile's request, Kirkpatrick ordered that the letter could not be read, since defense attorneys had not had time to prepare for the content.

Hatfield reminded Kirkpatrick that Chambers had been convicted of placing adhesive pads on the child's body and delivering an electric shock. The victim had also reported that Chambers used a gun to intimidate her.

The prosecutor read from a pre-sentencing report in which Chambers spoke of Dr. Joan Phillips, a Charleston-based child abuse expert who had testified during Chambers' trial that she believed the victim had been sexually abused.

Hatfield said that Chamber's statements in his pre-sentencing report were "writings of a pornographic fantasy."

"This is Mr. Chambers living out his pornographic fantasy through the writings to this court," said Hatfield. "It is nothing more than pages and pages of incoherent rambling."

"There's nothing more than a troubled, sick man before the court today," said Hatfield, who referred to a quote made by West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice John Hutchison in a previous sentencing.

Citing the "heinous" acts and noting that Chambers had not accepted responsibility, Kirkpatrick ordered that Chambers will serve the sentences consecutively and not concurrently.

"I don't claim to be a divine power at all," said Kirkpatrick. "I'm a simple country judge, but I have to do my duty.

"The defendant has been convicted by a jury of his peers of truly terrible crimes.

"It is the court's responsibility to impose a sentence that is commensurate with the nature and scope of the heinous acts committed by this defendant," said Kirkpatrick.

He ordered Chambers to serve 25 to 100 years per count for the sexual assault charges, five to 15 years per count on the charges of incest, five to 25 years on the first degree sexual abuse charge and 10 to 20 years for each count of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian.

"In view of the horrific nature of these crimes, the court elects to order all counts to be served consecutively; that is, back-to-back," said Kirkpatrick.

The sentence was, in effect, a life sentence of 255 to 855 years.

He also ordered that if Chambers is released, he will register as a sex offender for life and that he will submit to 25 years post-release intensive probation supervision.

Chambers received credit for the 1,081 days served against the sentence. The matter of restitution was left open for further reconsideration, if necessary.

Hatfield noted that Kirkpatrick had sentenced Chambers to serve nearly a millennium.

"I would characterize that as just short of a millennium of time for Richard Chambers," Hatfield said after the hearing. "It's a powerful message out there to those participating in this kind of crime, that it will no longer be tolerated."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting