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Rice to head new firm

February 24, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Thomas D. Rice, a local businessman who is charged with attempting to have sex with a 13-year-old boy, says he has been named president of a West Virginia firm that specializes in commercial development, business management and technology research.

Rice faxed a press release Thursday that said he has been appointed president of GTMS Ltd.

In addition to its business ventures, the firm is involved in political issues and campaign consulting, the release said.

The press release also said GTMS "has a direct contract to arrange commercial financing with a multi-national billion-plus dollar commercial financing firm."

Rice would not elaborate.

He also would not say who else is involved in the firm, except to say that they are private investors.

"I pretty much said all I can in the press release," Rice said Thursday night.

Rice was arrested Saturday outside an elementary school in Bedford County, Va., about 190 miles from Martinsburg. He was accused of arranging a sexual encounter over the Internet with an undercover officer who posed as a boy, according to the Bedford County Sheriff's Office.

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He was charged with two felony counts of attempted indecent liberties with a child under the age of 14 and one felony count of attempted crimes against nature with a child under the age of 14.

Rice, a prominent figure in the West Virginia Democratic party, had been general manager of the Blue Ridge Outlet Center in Martinsburg. He resigned from that position on Tuesday.

"I don't expect the pending legal action against me in Virginia to interfere significantly in preventing me from building GTMS Ltd. into the finest consulting firm in our specialties in West Virginia. I expect to be acquitted," Rice said in Thursday's release.

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