Loveland man who created 'cult-like' family sentenced to 60 years for sexual abuse

The Coloradoan/June 25, 2010

Virgil Rice created a "cult-like" atmosphere in his Loveland family, isolated girls from boys and manipulated the girls to believe his sexual abuse was therapy.

He did all that telling his family he was acting under the duty to follow God's will, according to statements made Friday during Rice's sentencing hearing.

Rice, 55, was sentenced to 60 years in prison Friday for years of sexual abuse against girls in his family after a jury in April convicted him of seven counts.

Judge Dave Williams sentenced Rice to 24 years each for crimes against two of the victims and 12 years for crimes against a third victim.

Prosecutor Emily Humphrey quoted one of the victims during Friday's sentencing hearing as saying "I didn't think it was wrong. I thought it was therapy."

She indicated that another victim said Rice was the only consistent figure in her life and his care was all she ever knew.

Despite his conviction, Rice vehemently denies his guilt and said in court Friday he intends to appeal the jury's decision. Williams also said Rice has filed a federal civil lawsuit against him and others in the justice system involved in his case.

"I do appreciate the fact that they have experienced pain and to some extent I am responsible," Rice said of the victims. "But that does not mean I'm guilty of what they've alleged."

He went on to say he didn't think it was fair that he's become the scapegoat and "designated perpetrator" for problems in the family. He also said he's a man of integrity.

Before handing down the sentence, Williams noted Rice's development of a "God complex" and a narcissistic personality.

"There was a complete lack of remorse and complete narcissism that was on display during proceedings leading up to trial, during the trial and quite starkly during his statement today," Williams said.

Statements made in court Friday indicate Rice manipulated the girls in his family as young as age 10 and as old as 16, in all three instances abusing the girls for numerous years. Statements also indicated the family was "cult-like."

One of the girls wrote a letter Prosecutor Renee Dock read to Williams during the hearing. She wrote that she hopes today is the end of Rice's involvement in her life.

"He will never be capable of rehabilitation whether he's incarcerated or in society because he doesn't believe he's done anything wrong," she wrote in the letter.

Another victim spoke during the hearing and said she feels empty.

"This experience has been very cleansing and today I feel will be the end of this whole life shadow," she said.

Rice promised Williams today's sentencing hearing wouldn't be the end of his fight to prove his innocence.

"It will go on and on until it's done," he said.

After Rice was arrested and charged in 2004, he fled to Spain, but was eventually located by authorities and has been incarcerated since 2007. His court proceedings were long delayed because he filed numerous legal motions and tried to represent himself.

Rice is the former owner of Tech Cycle, a company that recycled computer parts. His three sons, who helped him run the business, have adamantly supported his claims of innocence and fled with him to Spain remaining in the country for a short time after his arrest while launching a website trying to prove Rice's innocence.

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