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Child Exploitation

Army colonel charged federally with child pornography possession, distribution

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A federal grand jury in Harrisburg Wednesday indicted a U.S. Army colonel for possession and distribution of child pornography over the Internet.

Colonel Robert J. Rice, 56, of Carlisle, is stationed at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle.

The charges stem from an investigation by the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office with assistance from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

If convicted of both offenses, Rice faces up to 30 years in prison and fines of $500,000.  The possession offense carries a maximum jail sentence of 10 years and a maximum fine of $250,000.  The distribution offense carries a mandatory minimum five-year prison sentence and a maximum prison sentence of 20 years along with a maximum fine of $250,000.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. Clancy in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

The investigation is part of HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.