Former Illinois state representative facing federal child porn c - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Former Illinois state representative facing federal child porn charges

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Former state Rep. Keith Farnham traded child pornography online — and even boasted that he’d molested a 6-year-old girl — according to federal prosecutors.

The Elgin Democrat, 66, emailed to what he believed was a fellow pedophile videos of children who appeared to be as young as six months old being molested, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.

But the man he allegedly sent the videos to was in fact an undercover Homeland Security investigator, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Farnham, who resigned last month citing undisclosed “health issues,” has not been arrested but is due in court to answer the charges on Wednesday.

He quit shortly after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided his home and state office in Elgin and seized a computer on March 13.

The federal complaint alleges he used a phony name in online chatrooms to trade child porn while at his office and at his home. In one disturbing webchat with the undercover agent in November, he boasted that he’d sexually abused a six-year-old girl, the complaint alleges.

Like many of others in the northwest suburbs, Fred Rosso could hardly believe what he was reading when FOX 32 Political Editor Mike Flannery showed him the 16-page criminal complaint that prosecutors filed in federal court Monday.

“That's just, uh, disgusting,” Russo said, shaking his head. “Unbelievable that people can even think about doing things like that.”

Though he has not been charged with molesting the girl, he faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of possessing child pornography.

Farnham will surrender to officials at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the U.S. Federal building in downtown Chicago, said his attorney, Terry Ekl.

He will appear in Federal Magistrate Jeffrey T. Gilbert’s courtroom, Ekl said.

“We have made arrangements today. He will surrender himself at the federal building,” Ekl added.

Ekl would not comment on Farnham’s current physical or mental health statuses, and had no comment on the allegations.

If the allegations against Farnham are true, they are at odds with two pieces of legislation he co-sponsored that aimed to toughen penalties against those who possess child pornography.

Last year, he joined as a co-sponsor to House Bill 2647, which provided that possession of each piece of child pornography constituted a separate crime and gave judges new authority to impose consecutive sentences for child pornography crimes.

The legislation, which passed the House and Senate unanimously, was signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn last August.

The other bill of which Farnham was a co-sponsor increased penalties for the production and possession of child pornography if the victims are under 13.

The 2012 legislation also passed the House and Senate unanimously and was signed into law by Quinn in August of that year.

The lead House sponsor of both bills, state Rep. Emily McAsey, D-Lockport, did not return a message left Monday by the Chicago Sun-Times at her district office.

Farnham also did not return calls seeking comment.

But in resigning last month, he said, “I have been battling serious health issues for a number of years, and the coming months will require my full attention.

“The right thing to do for the people of the 43rd District is to make sure they have a dedicated, qualified and full-time advocate in our communities and in the State Capitol to represent their needs and concerns every day without distraction or interruption.”

David Goldberg, who lived literally next door, is now skeptical.

"I read in the paper, it said he leaves office because of health issues and that is not the case," Goldberg said. "He's very healthy and fit."

Another former neighbor, Elgin City Council Member Anna Moeller, was chosen by local Democratic committeemen to take Farnhan's seat in the General Assembly. She, too, said she was shocked to read the federal charges.

At a four-unit town house project Farnham himself reportedly developed, his name and that of his political committee remained on the buzzer, but there was no answer when FOX 32 rang Monday night.


(*WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT*): Official Criminal Complaint against Keith Farnham

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