He sexually abused 2 girls for 7 years. Now he'll spend over 500 behind bars

·3 min read

State prosecutors called Richard Haines the "textbook definition of a monster."

Almost four months ago, the 52-year-old man from Magnolia was convicted of 77 felonies related to the continuous sexual abuse of two girls as someone in a position of trust. On Wednesday, Haines was given a maximum sentence of over 1,300 years in prison.

Deputy Attorney General Erik Towne said that Haines shows a "complete and utter lack of remorse" for his actions and has continued to deny any wrongdoing since his arrest in December 2020. These claims made the girls he abused hesitant to come to testify, Towne said, as well as to disclose the abuse in the first place. And even now that the trial has ended, that fear of not being believed has lingered.

It's not unfounded anxiety.

RELATED:How a former school board member used his 'position of trust' to access and abuse kids

"It's hard for people to want to accept that (child sexual abuse) happens because it's so horrible to believe," said Abigail Rodgers, director of the Delaware Department of Justice's Family Division.

About 25% of girls and 8% of boys in the U.S. experience child sexual abuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 91% of these cases, the abuse is carried out by someone that the child or their family trusts.

“The abuse these children suffered is unconscionable," Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings said in a statement following Haines' initial conviction. "They and their mother were betrayed in the worst way by someone close to them and none of us can begin to imagine the long road ahead of them as they try to recover from the trauma they have suffered."

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE IN DELAWAREThere's more child sexual abuse material online than ever before. How it's affecting Delaware

The current guardian of one of the girls abused by Haines said she's already seen the damaging effects of what was once almost daily abuse.

"It has been a long, hard road," she wrote in her victim impact statement.

While Judge Reneta L. Green-Streett acknowledged Wednesday that "the justice system is not a particularly helpful tool for healing trauma," she said she hopes Haines' sentencing will provide some closure.

As part of her ruling, Green-Streett said Haines has to complete sex disorder treatment in prison, as well as any other mental health programs that the Department of Correction recommends. Even if Haines meets the requirements to have his sentences shortened to the mandatory minimum, he will still serve over 500 consecutive years behind bars.

Haines' attorney said his client plans to appeal his case. No further court dates have been scheduled yet.

How to get help

National Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255; en español 800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 for crisis support

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673

National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453

Anyone who suspects child sexual or physical abuse or neglect is asked to call the Division of Family Services hotline at 800-292-9582.

Send story tips or ideas to Hannah Edelman at hedelman@delawareonline.com. For more reporting, follow them on Twitter at @h_edelman.

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Delaware child sex abuse case ends with over 1300 years of jail time