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Colonel held for trial on child porn charges - abc27 WHTM

Colonel held for trial on child porn charges

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Col. Robert J. Rice Col. Robert J. Rice
CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) -

A U.S. Army colonel has been held for trial on 130 counts of possession of child pornography.

Robert Rice, 55, of Carlisle, appeared for a preliminary hearing Monday before District Judge Paula Correal, who found enough evidence to forward the case to Cumberland County Court. A formal arraignment was scheduled for July 25.

Rice was arrested last month on 120 child pornography counts after investigators said they found 10,000 images depicting children engaged in sexual acts on his personal laptop computer.

Prosecutors added 10 additional child pornography counts during Monday's hearing.

Authorities said they were tipped off by Rice's estranged wife, who testified Monday that she found pornography on her husband's computer and installed spyware on the laptop before leaving for a trip to Florida.

She said she returned home and found the child pornography, as well as ads that had been placed on CraigsList in search of a male sexual partner. She said in court that she confronted Rice, and that he apologized and told her that he needs help.

His lawyer, Joseph Caraciolo, maintains that Rice is innocent. He said prosecutors cannot prove who downloaded the pornography, and he claims the colonel was framed by his estranged wife.

"Our timeline is that on January 29 or prior to that, she added this program to the computer to set him up," Caraciolo said after the hearing. "She maybe even done the CraigsList ads, we're not sure. She then approached him to try to get a financial benefit out of this. When that didn't go her way, she went to police."

Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed issued a statement expressing his confidence in the investigation.

"We feel very confident that the evidence we have uncovered points to the defendant as the person who accessed those images," Freed said. "This is not the first criminal defendant, nor will it be the last to claim a frame job."

Rice had served as a staff officer engaged in developing war games at the U.S. Army War College's Center for Strategic Leadership and Development. His clearance was suspended after his arrest.

In addition to 130 counts of child pornography, He has been charged with a single count of criminal use of a communications facility.

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