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Col. Robert Rice

Col. Robert Rice

CARLISLE — Child pornography charges against an Army colonel will now be handled in federal court.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Wednesday said a grand jury in Harrisburg has indicted Col. Robert J. Rice, 56, of Carlisle, on federal charges of possession and distribution of child pornography.

Rice, a former director of the DA Support Branch at the Center for Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Army War College, was charged by officials in Cumberland County in April 2013 for suspected child pornography allegedly found on Rice’s laptop.

Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed Wednesday said federal officials will take over the case.

“We have a close collaborative relationship with the U.S. Attorneys Office,” he said in an email. “While there are certainly instances in which we would both proceed with charges, in this matter we will defer to the federal prosecution.”

The county’s case was based on information and evidence provided by Rice’s wife, Marilyn Barbara Rice-Goldie, who told authorities she saw child pornography on his computer, which she turned in to Silver Spring Township Police, court documents said. A forensics analysis identified 120 files as child pornography, court documents said. The affidavit, however, noted that the laptop contained more than 10,000 images depicting children younger than 18 engaging in prohibited sexual acts.

Rice had a preliminary hearing but had been waiting on a pre-trial conference in the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas, which was scheduled for June, with a trial possible in July.

The case will move to the Middle District of Pennsylvania and will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. Clancy.

If convicted of both offenses, Rice faces up to 30 years in prison and fines of $500,000.

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