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The 2nd Infantry Division Museum director will stand trial March 29 on charges related to child pornography, a federal judge announced Wednesday in Arkansas.

Robert Kim Combs, who was arrested Jan. 2 after an Internet sting operation by North Little Rock, Ark., authorities, also will face a hearing in coming weeks to decide whether he will remain in federal custody before the trial begins, officials said.

Initially, the judge was to rule on pre-trial confinement issues at Wednesday’s hearing, but extended that portion of the hearing.

“The issue of detention was continued so that the Pretrial Services Office could investigate possible third party custodians living in Rolla, Missouri that the defendant may live with while on pretrial release,” said Jane Duke, of the U.S. Attorney’s Eastern District of Arkansas, in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

According to federal authorities, Combs was in North Little Rock after allegedly traveling there to have sex with people he believed were a mother and her underage daughter.

The two turned out to be undercover police officers enacting a “sting” operation on suspected Internet predators.

Combs initially faced charges of possessing or distributing child pornography, but those were withdrawn in favor of more serious charges.

According to Duke, Combs will face trial on charges of “using the mails” to send child pornography, and “using the mails” in an attempt to entice a minor to engage in the production of child pornography.

State charges could be refiled if the federal prosecution is abandoned, officials have said. Under the PROTECT Act of 2003, the federal penalties, which already were harsher than Arkansas state penalties for Combs’ alleged offenses, have become even more severe, officials said.

If found guilty, Combs would face a minimum of three to five year in jail, with maximum sentences between 15 and 20 years, according to the Department of Justice.

Criminal Investigative Command agents have searched Combs’ office at the 2nd ID museum on Camp Red Cloud.

— Choe Song-won contributed to this report.

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