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Ex-state legislator Farnham faces child porn charges

Former State Rep. Keith Farnham (D-Elgin)

Former State Rep. Keith Farnham (D-Elgin)

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Updated: April 28, 2014 5:56PM



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 thought 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.
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.
Though he has not been charged with molesting the girl, he faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of possessing child pornography.
If the allegations against Farnham are true, they are at odds with two pieces of legislation he co-sponsored that aimed to strengthen 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.”


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