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updated: 5/21/2014 3:28 PM

Farnham warned of dangers of child pornography in letter

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  • Keith Farnham

      Keith Farnham

  • A coloring book distributed by former state Rep. Keith Farnham.

      A coloring book distributed by former state Rep. Keith Farnham.

 
By Zachary White
zwhite@dailyherald.com

Former state Rep. Keith Farnham, who has been charged with having child pornography on his state-owned computer, had an official newsletter and brochure printed highlighting the dangers of child pornography and how parents can keep their children from being exploited on the Internet.

"The sexual exploitation of children is a serious problem with profound and devastating consequences for its victims," a September 2009 newsletter reads. "Legislation supported by Representative Farnham provides law enforcement with additional means to pursue child pornographers and predators."

The Daily Herald obtained the materials from the Legislative Printing Unit, which lets lawmakers order mailers, brochures and newsletters.

A May 2010 brochure ordered by the Elgin Democrat warned of the dangers children could encounter when they use the Internet. The mailer put emphasis on blocking adult material, preventing harassment and protecting their child's identity.

"By revealing a personal address or phone number to an anonymous contact online, children can put themselves and their family in danger," it reads. "In some cases, pedophiles use online services to gain a child's confidence and arrange a face-to-face meeting."

On the same day, Farnham also ordered a coloring book with his photo printed on the front next to a sketch of Abraham Lincoln. The coloring book, which has been ordered by several other lawmakers to be distributed to constituents over the years, allows children to color state symbols.

Farnham has been confined to his Elgin home following two federal court appearances. Most recently, he has been banned from using his own patio and isn't allowed to access the Internet.

Farnham attorney Terry Ekl did not return a message seeking comment.

Farnham resigned his Illinois General Assembly seat on March 19 saying he had health issues. He'd had perfect attendance at 2014 legislative sessions until that day and had been running for re-election.

Days earlier, federal agents seized several computers and electronic storage devices from his home and Elgin office, including one labeled "property of the state of Illinois House of Representatives" that contained images of child pornography, federal authorities say.

Elgin City Council member Anna Moeller was appointed to serve the remainder of Farnham's term and is expected to run for the seat in November.

Farnham faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

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