Army colonel sentenced to 12 years in child porn case

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Col. Robert Rice
From Stripes.com
Col. Robert Rice

Army colonel sentenced to 12 years in child porn case

by: Corey Dickstein | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: December 29, 2016

WASHINGTON — An Army colonel convicted of viewing and distributing child pornography will serve the next 12 years in federal prison, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Col. Robert J. Rice was sentenced Wednesday in a courtroom in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Christopher C. Conner about six months after a jury convicted him of possession and receipt and distribution of child pornography over the Internet, said Dawn Mayko, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Rice faced a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment.

Rice, 59, has been imprisoned in the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barack at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas since October, when he pleaded guilty to three child pornography charges at a military court-martial. In that case, he was sentenced to four years in prison.

He will serve both sentences concurrently, Mayko said.

After Rice’s release from prison, he will be dismissed from the military, forced to register as a sex offender and spend 10 years on supervised release, Mayko said. He was also ordered to pay a $5,100 fine.

Rice served 37 years in the Army. He had most recently been stationed at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he was leading the development of war games at the school’s Center for Strategic Leadership and Development.

He was serving in that position when he was arrested in April 2013.

According to the Justice Department, prosecutors said they discovered some 10,000 images containing child pornography on Rice’s personal computer during an investigation conducted by the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and the Homeland Security Investigations office. Investigators first learned of Rice’s actions from his wife, who prosecutors said contacted them after she discovered the photos on his laptop.

During the trial in May, prosecutors produced evidence showing Rice had knowingly possessed child pornography between August 2010 and January 2013 and he had distributed the content in January 2013. Jurors convicted Rice in about two hours, Mayko said.

At the sentencing hearing Wednesday, Rice said he was “sorry” and “ashamed” of his actions, according to The Associated Press.

"When this began I didn't see the human beings," Rice said, according to The AP. "I came to realize that this is not a victimless crime. That each time an image is passed it renews the ... emotional damage."

dickstein.corey@stripes.com
Twitter: @CDicksteinDC