December 6, 2014

Former-state Rep. Keith Farnham pleads guilty to child porn

UPDATE: Keith Farnham now registered as sex offender

See Also: Ex-State Rep. Keith Farnham pleads guilty in child porn case
12-6-2014 Illinois:

Former state Rep. Keith Farnham faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison after pleading guilty Friday to online trading of thousands of images and videos of child pornography depicting victims as young as toddlers.

Federal prosecutors sought to take Farnham into custody after his guilty plea to a single count of distributing child porn. But U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang allowed him to remain confined at home on electronic monitors, citing serious health problems that include a terminal lung disease, bladder cancer and hepatitis.

Farnham, 67, must register Monday with federal authorities as a sex offender.

Farnham's attorney, Terry Ekl, said his client hopes to begin taking an experimental drug to treat his pulmonary fibrosis — a condition that causes lung tissue to scar — but still would need a lung transplant for any hope of long-term survival. He was scheduled to be sentenced March 19 and could face up to about 15 years in prison under federal guidelines.

"Without a lung transplant, it's likely he's going to die in the penitentiary," Elk told reporters in the courthouse lobby.

Farnham, an Elgin Democrat who resigned his seat in March days after federal agents seized computers from his state office and home, appeared in court with an oxygen tube hooked up to his nose. When the judge asked him what he did for a living, Farnham said quietly, "I was a state representative."

Ekl said he would seek the minimum five-year prison term for Farnham, a Navy veteran who ran an Elgin printing business before running for office in 2009.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Storino said that investigators found more than 2,750 images of child pornography on Farnham's computers as well as two graphic videos showing victims as young as 2 or 3.

According to Farnham's plea agreement, the pornography was found on computers and electronic storage devices that were seized from his state office, home and car. Authorities also linked a Yahoo email account used by Farnham to an online trading forum in which he chatted with other users about his sexual preferences, according to the charges.

"12 is about as old as i can handle," Farnham allegedly said in one online chat in November 2013, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in April. "i love them at 6 7 8."

In another chat, Farnham allegedly described in detail a sexual encounter he had with a 6-year-old girl, the complaint alleged.

Ekl said the encounter was fictional. While Farnham's "sickness" was disturbing, Ekl said, he "has never, never abused any child, never had any physical contact with a child."

As part of his home confinement, Farnham must to stay off the patio of his condominium because a young child lives nearby. Farnham's wife, Susan, also was ordered to keep her cellphone and computer password protected from Farnham, lock up her iPad and laptop when she's not home, and notify court officials if her husband tried to use any device that could potentially connect to the Internet. ..Source.. by Jason Meisner

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