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Col. Robert Rice

Col. Robert Rice

Photo courtesy U.S. Army War College

The case against a U.S. Army War College colonel charged with 130 counts of possession of child pornography hinged on the testimony of his wife during a preliminary hearing on Monday.

Col. Robert Rice, 55, of Carlisle, was initially charged April 3 with 120 counts of possession of child pornography after police say they found explicit images of children on his personal computer. Ten additional child pornography charges were added to the complaint on Monday. He is also charged with felony criminal use of a communication facility.

All of the charges were held to Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas during the hearing, and Rice will be formally arraigned on July 25.

Rice is a director at the Center for Strategic Leadership at the War College.

Marital troubles

Rice’s wife of nearly 10 years, Marilyn Rice, who is currently in divorce proceedings with the defendant, testified on Monday that she put monitoring software on his computer because of her husband’s “pornography addiction.”

Marilyn Rice said she realized the problem “approximately a month into the marriage,” and had confronted him on several occasions. She testified that this had strained their relationship to the point of installing the monitoring programs, which periodically take screen shots of activity and save them for later examination.

She testified that in December 2012, her computer was having technical problems, and when she used his computer, she found the pornographic images, including an account on an adult dating website with a naked picture of himself. She testified to then installing the monitoring software without his knowledge and then left for Florida on Jan. 23. When she returned, she checked the software and discovered chats and downloads of both adult and child pornography. She then hid the computer in the attic of the home before confronting him about the situation.

“I knew what I was going to have to do with it in the end, and I didn’t want him to have access to it,” she said.

When confronted, she testified that he said, “I know, I need help.”

Rice testified that her husband then moved out of the home, and she placed the laptop in a safety deposit box before deciding to take it to police on Feb. 7.

On cross examination, defense attorney Joseph Caraciolo asked her about the state of the marriage, attempting to show that she had been blackmailing Rice into paying several thousands of dollars a month.

“We believe that she most certainly set him up, and we believe that she admitted almost as much on the stand,” Caraciolo said after the proceedings.

She was then asked about a conversation where she reportedly said if Rice “played nice,” she would not go to police. Marilyn Rice said she did not recall that conversation and noted that financial gain was not her concern in this situation.

“To be honest through all this, the last thing that has been on my mind is the numbers in the bank,” she said.

Caraciolo responded to the comment after the proceedings, saying, “I think that when the full story comes out, and what Robert remembers as far as that conversation, he was the one that brought up blackmail because she was saying it in other terms.”


Detective Ryan Parthemore, who is with the Upper Allen Police Department and a computer forensic analyst for the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office, then testified to what he found when he analyzed the computer.

He explained that he found not only the monitoring software installed by Marilyn Rice, but also software applications designed to clean up records of Internet activity.

He said nearly 30,000 images were found in several places on the computer, with child pornography found in two locations, including a Yahoo instant messaging cache, which stores files shared through the messaging service. He said these images dated from April to December 2010, since the software installed to clean up the computer had erased all records after those dates. Seventy counts of the possession charges came from this location, he said.

The rest of the charges stem from the Windows thumb cache, which he explained was a way the Windows operating system stores images to allow for easy viewing. He said it was evident that a removable storage device, exclusively used for the storage of pornography, had been used to store the files, many of which involved children in scantly clad and provocative poses as well as performing sexual acts.

Parthemore testified he was still subjecting the computer to analysis and the investigation is still ongoing, which Caraciolo said has led to the premature filing of the charges.

“I was surprised because of the honesty of the investigator saying that we couldn’t place the computer in any one state at any of the times in question here and that their investigation is still ongoing,” he said. “The best they can do is say a user was in control of child pornography. They have not proven that this defendant was that person.”

Set up

Caraciolo suggested that Rice’s wife could have installed the “malicious program” to set him up.

“She may have even done these Craigslist ads, we are not sure,” he said. “She then approached him to try to get a financial benefit out of this and when that didn’t go her way, she went to the police.”

Caraciolo called on police to conclude their investigation and get to the bottom of the case.

“What I have said all along, what I have asked them to do is, conclude their investigation and then bring the charges,” he said. “And I was hoping that the judge would have agreed with me on that and dismissed (the charges) based on them not knowing who was behind the computer when the images were being downloaded. It is very clear that two people had access to this computer. One person had access based on a keylogger, a malicious program that tracks everything that is typed on the computer, and uses it to steal passwords, and the other person who created the passwords also had the access. So the question I have for investigators is, who did it? Who is the one that was on the computer downloading programs, downloading child pornography. We are not challenging the fact that there was child pornography on that computer, we are challenging the fact he downloaded it.”

He suggested that there is more evidence on the computer that is not being presented.

“We also believe that there was a virus added onto the computer, and we think the investigator admitted to that when he was on the stand,” Caraciolo said. “What these programs could do we don’t know yet, and we are excited to get the hard drive in the hands of an expert who will tell us what happened with the computer.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Matthew Smith, who is prosecuting the case referred all questions to District Attorney David Freed, who did not return a message for comment.

Posted earlier on

Despite defense claims that child pornography was placed on his computer as blackmail, the charges against a U.S. Army War College colonel were bound over to Cumberland County Court during a preliminary hearing Monday.

Col. Robert Rice, 55, of Carlisle, was initially charged with 120 counts of possession of child pornography in April after police say they found explicit images of children on his personal computer. Ten additional child pornography charges were added to the complaint on Monday.

Police said only 120 of the nearly 30,000 images were forensically analyzed, which resulted in the first batch of charges.

Rice will be formally arraigned in Cumberland County Court on July 25.

For more information, check back to and read The Sentinel's print edition on Tuesday.

Posted earlier on Cumberlink:

Magisterial District Judge Paula Correal found there was enough evidence against U.S. Army War College Col. Robert Rice, 55, of Carlisle, to hold child pornography charges to higher court Monday morning, according to abc27.

The colonel will be formally arraigned July 25. He was arrested in April after investigators say they found thousands of pictures of child pornography, charging him with 130 counts of it. The affidavit of probable cause indicated Rice's wife notified police about the pictures on his laptop.

For more information, check back to and read The Sentinel's print edition on Tuesday.

Posted earlier from abc27 on Cumberlink:

The U.S. Army War College colonel accused of possessing child pornography is expected in court in Cumberland County this morning for a preliminary hearing.

Robert Rice was arrested last month after investigators said they found 10,000 pictures of child porn on his computer. They said they were tipped off by Rice's wife.

Rice's lawyer said his client is innocent and was set up by his estranged wife.

Monday's hearing is to determine if there is enough evidence against Rice to forward the charges to county court.

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