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updated: 5/23/2014 1:05 PM

Ex-state Rep. Farnham indicted on child porn charges

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  • Keith Farnham

      Keith Farnham

 
 

Former Elgin state Rep. Keith Farnham was indicted by a federal grand jury on a litany of child pornography charges.

Farnham, 66, a Democrat who served six years in the state legislature, is accused of sharing images of children under age 12 engaged in sex acts. Federal authorities recovered the images from a variety of computers, including his state-issued computer.

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Meanwhile, state officials reported Farnham received his first General Assembly Retirement System pension check worth $2,475 earlier this week covering April and May payments.

Farnham resigned from office March 19 citing health issues, just days after federal authorities raided his home and his state office in Elgin. He was arrested on a variety of federal child pornography charges in April and released on a $4,500 bond and ordered confined to his home.

Farnham was indicted Thursday on one count of possessing child pornography involving a minor under age 12, one count of receiving child pornography, and two counts of transporting child pornography, all via computer.

Federal authorities previously released partial transcripts of online conversations Farnham had with an individual he was trading images and videos with where he indicated his preference for images of children between the ages of 6 and 8.

"12 is about as old as i can handle," court papers allege he wrote in one online chat.

Ironically, Farnham often boasted in state-funded newsletters about legislation he supported to make the Internet a safer place for children and provide "law enforcement with additional means to pursue child pornographers and predators."

The Daily Herald obtained the 2009 and 2010 documents from the Legislative Printing Unit, which lets lawmakers order mailers, brochures and newsletters. He also commissioned a children's coloring book to distribute to constituents that many other legislators use as well.

Former Elgin city councilwoman Anna Moeller was appointed to serve the remainder of Farnham's term. He was seeking re-election prior to his arrest and resignation.

Because Farnham served six years in the legislature, he is entitled to receive as a pension 19 percent of his final salary of $78,163, said Tim Blair, executive director of the State Retirement Systems.

Blair said that even though legislators have been taking pay cuts for the past few years, their pensionable earnings are still based on salaries they are entitled to, not what they've received.

Under the pension system's rules, Farnham will make $11,138 for nine months of retirement this year and then receive an automatic 3 percent increase in January that will boost his pension to $15,296 in 2015.

If he is convicted, he could lose his pension, state officials said. State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat who serves on the General Assembly Retirement System board, said it is unlikely the members would seek to revoke Farnham's pension before a conviction.

"The law now is once you're sentenced, you lose your pension for life, if (the crime is) job related. I mean, that's a pretty significant penalty for breaking the law," she said. "Could we make it earlier? We could. But I think the way we handle it right now, it's still a very severe penalty."

If Farnham is convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

•Daily Herald Staff Writers Mike Riopell and Zach White contributed to this story.

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