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Former Democratic House member charged with possession of child porn

Monday, Apr 28, 2014

* From the US Attorney’s office…

Former Illinois State Rep. KEITH FARNHAM was charged today with possession of child pornography in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Farnham allegedly possessed two videos depicting child pornography on a computer that was seized from his state office in Elgin in March.

Farnham, 66, of Elgin, was not arrested and no date has been set yet for him to appear voluntarily for an initial appearance in Federal Court.

On March 13, agents with U.S. Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) executed a federal search warrant at Farnham’s office and residence in Elgin. Several computers and electronic storage devices were recovered that contained child pornography images, including the two charged videos, according to the complaint affidavit. The office computer that contained the videos was labeled “PROPERTY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.”

Farnham resigned his seat in the Illinois General Assembly on March 19.

According to the complaint, HSI agents were investigating information received from the HSI Cyber Crimes Center that an email address, later linked to Farnham, was being used to trade child pornography on the Internet. After agents linked the email account to Farnham they obtained and reviewed instant message chats that occurred between last June and January this year. Excerpts of those chats are detailed in the affidavit.

Possession of child pornography carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The complaint was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Gary Hartwig, Special Agent-in-Charge of HSI in Chicago

A complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

I’ll have the complaint in a bit.

…Adding… The complaint is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


76 Comments
  1. - Nearly Normal - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:01 pm:

    Oh my. ==The office computer that contained the videos was labeled “PROPERTY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.”==


  2. - OneMan - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    Starting reading the complaint….

    If you are a parent in particular and in general I would suggest you not read it. I could not finish the thing…


  3. - that guy - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    “PROPERTY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES” was labeled on the computer.


  4. - Walter Mitty - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:05 pm:

    One Man… Thank you.


  5. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:07 pm:

    Ugly. Nasty.


  6. - Nearly Normal - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:09 pm:

    I tried reading the complaint but stopped after reading some of the Instant Messages. It is pretty awful.


  7. - RonOglesby - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:12 pm:

    I had to stop reading it… UGH… The chat crap was the worst. Anything this guy gets is too good for him.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:12 pm:

    Sickened.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:13 pm:

    Couldn’t finish either.


  10. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:16 pm:

    Farnham, 66, of Elgin, was not arrested and no date has been set yet for him to appear voluntarily for an initial appearance in Federal Court.

    After reading part of that complaint, if you say he did that, he needs to be in a cell, like now. No turning yourself in for that crap.


  11. - .Anon - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:16 pm:

    I am literally sick to my stomach. I can’t think of a punishment harsh enough.


  12. - Raymond - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:17 pm:

    The instant message chats are too much to take. This man deserves whatever he gets and so much more.


  13. - Concerned - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:18 pm:

    He needs to be in custody for his own protection, too.


  14. - Wally - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:23 pm:

    Thanks for the heads-up, I will choose not to read it.


  15. - Oneman - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:24 pm:

    seriously, don’t read it. If you decided to ignore anything else I have ever put up here or will ever say here and think me an idiot, fine. But trust me on this one do not read the complaint.


  16. - Abe the Babe - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:24 pm:

    “- Wally - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:23 pm:

    Thanks for the heads-up, I will choose not to read it.”

    Good choice. Wish I hadn’t. stopped midway.


  17. - Anon - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:25 pm:

    Can his story of abusing a 6 year old girl be used in some way to convict him of that? Or is it impossible?


  18. - Samurai - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:26 pm:

    Attended a lunch in Chicago with Bruce Rauner, Dan Duffy, two putt and other elected State Reps and Senators. Thought some of these guys (and they were all guys) can really be arrogant A– Holes.

    Then on the drive out of the city hear about Farnham and really puts it all in perspective. Anyone could do what these self righteous clowns do.


  19. - horse w/ no name - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:29 pm:

    Got to the verbal exchanges and had to tap out. Just too much. I’ll never understand how a person’s mind could go to such a dark place. Just awful.


  20. - Samurai - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:31 pm:

    BTW— Bruce Rauner was first class.


  21. - Oneman - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:33 pm:

    Also have to give credit to those who investigate such things….

    Deserve everything we pay them and more….


  22. - Jim'e' - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:35 pm:

    I hope his disease is treatable, its sick, but you have to hope that this is treatable and preventable.


  23. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:35 pm:

    I don’t think you have to be a parent to be disgusted by child porn.


  24. - Snucka - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:39 pm:

    Holy crap. How could they not get an arrest warrant immediately, based on some of the things he was saying in these chats? I don’t get disgusted easily, but… wow.


  25. - lake county democrat - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:40 pm:

    Echoing those here recommending that you don’t read this. Seriously nauseating descriptions.


  26. - anon - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:40 pm:

    I oppose the death penalty, but this man deserves to die. Anybody who would abuse a child in such horrific ways should be executed. I dont believe that anybody can ever be 100% rehabilitated. Without such assurance, the only way to prevent another innocent child from being violated is to execute those who engage in such acts. Disease or no disease, these people must be stopped from hurting other children. Just knowing that such abuse exists makes me sick and angry.


  27. - Snucka - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:41 pm:

    And of course I agree that I hope his disease is treatable. In the meantime he needs to be locked up far away from any children. He actually admitted to sexual assault of a minor in the chats, so hopefully that will lead to more charges.


  28. - Lobo Y Olla - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:42 pm:

    Looks like Precinct Captain was correct. Mandatory pen time upon a conviction btw.


  29. - Upon Further Review - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:46 pm:

    This is awful. I managed to review three pages and had to stop. This needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


  30. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:47 pm:

    Couldn’t finish it, really really bad. I wish I hadn’t read it.


  31. - A guy... - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:50 pm:

    Glad I read these comments before reading the complaint. As much razzing as we may give one another here, I trust their judgment on this. Won’t read it. Thanks to all who discovered this and then acted on it. Give him his fair trial and his day in court. If it’s as bad as is being reported here, find a place where it can never happen again. Such a shame.


  32. - Lobo Y Olla - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:53 pm:

    “I hope his disease is treatable, its sick, but you have to hope that this is treatable and preventable.”

    It’s preventable. It’s not treatable. This is a tsunami in the criminal justice system. This is not the worst out there… not by a long shot.


  33. - Lobo Y Olla - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:57 pm:

    Also have to give credit to those who investigate such things….

    Deserve everything we pay them and more….

    Oneman, I couldn’t have said it better myself. If you really want to make a difference, a real, tangible difference, contribute to your local Children’s Advocacy Center. They are strewn about the state and are really the finest thing I have ever been a part of. This is the first stop on a child’s road to recovery. Prosecutors, Police, medical teams, counseling, forensic interviews, all under the same roof, all fighting the same war…and it is a war.


  34. - Upon Further Review - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 4:57 pm:

    It is the stuff of nightmares for parents and children. This is horrible.


  35. - Wensicia - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 5:00 pm:

    I hope in some way this evidence can be used to trace the abusers of these children and rescue them from further abuse. I hope Farnham rots in hell when found guilty.


  36. - Upon Further Review - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 5:04 pm:

    In happier times, I remember children playing without so much planning and adult supervision.
    Now, I know why some parents insist upon accompanying their children to and from school and to and from every playground and park activity. This is pure evil and there are more predators lurking about than we know of.


  37. - Anon - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 5:17 pm:

    Sad, disappointing


  38. - Walker - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 5:21 pm:

    Terrible, beyond words.


  39. - john doe - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 5:28 pm:

    Lock him up and throw away the key.


  40. - John Boch - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 5:40 pm:

    That’s beyond sick. He’s allegedly writing that he likes his girls 6-8 years old. “12 is about all I can handle” he wrote, IIRC. Sick sick sick.

    If he’s that into kiddie pron, he needs to be put into a wood chipper.

    I wonder how many kids he’s molested.

    John


  41. - matt jones - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 5:49 pm:

    these kinds of cases occur everyday in every corner of the state. there simply aren’t the resources to investigate (requires lots of training and equipment needed) and to prosecute (these are very difficult cases to prove the connections). prayers of thanks to those with the stomach to see these cases through in a professional manner to be sure justice is done. for all of the grief law enforcement gets, sometimes self inflicted, these are the cases that make be proud serve my team.


  42. - Howard - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 5:59 pm:

    Can we discount his yes vote for SB1 now?


  43. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 6:01 pm:

    - Howard -, bad form


  44. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 6:32 pm:

    Why is he walking around free, no bond?

    Sick SOB.


  45. - Generation X - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 6:36 pm:

    This is no more a disease than murder. It is a preventable violent criminal act perpetrated by a monster.


  46. - 1776 - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 6:42 pm:

    Sick and sad. He should be punished to the full extent of the law.


  47. - This guy - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 7:04 pm:

    Why these people don’t just take their own lives instead of savagely ruining others’ is beyond me. Moratorium, my tush.


  48. - Oh Come On! - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 7:25 pm:

    I feel ill. I felt the same way when the scandal at Penn State was announced.

    I hope that the investigation is thorough and that other criminal predators are also brought to justice.


  49. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 7:26 pm:

    thank god we have alot of victimless nonviolent criminals locked up so his stay won`t be long.


  50. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 7:33 pm:

    One in three girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.

    Children tell an average of seven adults they are being abused before it is reported to authorities.

    If a child tell you there are being abused, believe them, and act.

    If a child is acting differently, ask them what is wrong, and listen.

    We can all wish this is a rare thing that will go away if we just turn our heads.

    But the truth is, child abuse surrounds us; on every side, in every community.


  51. - Oh Come On! - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 7:43 pm:

    The “PROPERTY OF THE ILLINOIS STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES” label on the computer may have been intended to mislead casual observers of what Farnham was really up to. Cops will tell you that perverts into tapes would often hide porn by putting the offensive materials in a box listing an otherwise acceptable feature movie that would not arouse suspicions.


  52. - MEP - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 9:49 pm:

    This is the link to the organization I believe “Lobo Y Olla” was talking about.

    http://www.childrensadvocacycentersofillinois.org/website/


  53. - West Sider - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 10:32 pm:

    It’s my understanding that abusers are themselves, often untreated victims. If this is so, then my heart is full of pity, as well as revulsion. Thank you to those who read enough to warn me off- I have little ones, and want to sleep at night.


  54. - Oneman - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 10:45 pm:

    As I sit here at 10:42 PM, with a drink to try and get what I did read out of my head, I do want to say two things…

    One: Since his state computer was involved, if he is convicted can they take his pension away?

    Two: I haven’t seen a single comment mention what party he was from and I think that speaks volumes about the quality of the folks here.


  55. - Rahm's Middle Finger - Monday, Apr 28, 14 @ 11:17 pm:

    Totally and completely disgusting. You obviously have to be a sicko to engage in that behavior. But you have to be even more deranged to run for public office… and use a state computer. This is unreal.


  56. - Palanon - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 2:05 am:

    >>>> Why these people don’t just take their own lives

    It’s not over yet.


  57. - FormerParatrooper - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 6:07 am:

    This one of the few things in life that makes me tremble with rage. The betrayal of a child’s innocence deserves death and nothing less.


  58. - RonOglesby - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 6:59 am:

    —-
    Two: I haven’t seen a single comment mention what party he was from and I think that speaks volumes about the quality of the folks here.
    —-
    Party doesn’t matter when it comes to this stuff. There is NO WAY to defend this or make it about party.


  59. - Snucka - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 7:16 am:

    I don’t agree that this is no different from murder. Murder is an act, and it can sometimes be an isolated act. Pedophilia is a real condition, and there is some small hope that it can be treated or at least that the pedophile can be prevented from turning his or her urges into action.

    However, that should not mitigate the sentence one receives for actually partaking in the types of actions alleged in the complaint. He may have a mental illness, but he needs to be held responsible for his failure to recognize it and seek help. More important, he needs to serve as a warning to others who are in the same situation that they urgently need to seek help before harming a child.


  60. - Oneman - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 7:19 am:

    RonOglesby

    True that.. doesn’t mean folks are not trying to make it about that in other places….


  61. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 7:35 am:

    smith and wesson or colt could help him out.


  62. - Pat C - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 7:42 am:

    I guess he is still free since they think he just made up the stories in the chat.

    I hope.

    Any evidence, and I think he’d be in jail.


  63. - South of I-80 - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 7:59 am:

    I wish that I had read the comments before I click on the complaint! I don’t remember the page, but it wasn’t that far into it, when I hit the close button! I hit the wrong close button an had to reload everything. What ever he gets, it won’t be enough!!


  64. - Hoping for Rational Thought - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 8:23 am:

    Repulsive…actually words don’t describe the disgust. Ugh


  65. - veritas - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 8:27 am:

    Horrible, terrible, deplorable statements in the complaint, but this individual is innocent until proven guilty. Could these acts have been perpetrated by another user with access to this computer? Mayeb - Maybe not, but better to condemn the actions than to suggest that the accused should take his own life!


  66. - Walter Mitty - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 8:38 am:

    Thank you for the information about awareness of the real plight. My hope is, if any good can come from any of this. Is it reminds our politicians and public of the real monsters amongst us. Fund the folks that have to do this work. Most importantly, pray for the victims and the REAL professionals that are tasked to keep our kids safe. They need it.


  67. - Jimbo - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 8:44 am:

    My god. I wish I’d heeded your warnings Oneman. Disgusting.


  68. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 9:07 am:

    there still looking for his lifetime of porn this is the tip.


  69. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 9:11 am:

    Ron Oglesby, it does not matter in the punishment or the crime, but the reporting of it does. How the media reports it is an afterthought, but still an interesting study.

    Party affiliation does not matter when it comes to sentencing, IMO


  70. - titan - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 9:11 am:

    Rich - I looked at the complaint link before reading the comments - the other commenters are quite right.

    Maybe a little warning of the extreme graphic content by the link in the main post would be appropriate.


  71. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 9:23 am:

    I want some way of quarantining, suspending and temporarily replacing public officials who are suspected of breaking some laws while they are being investigated by law enforcement officials. We are lucky that he is a FORMER official. However, it appears that the crimes were committed while he was in office.

    Illinois has become a laughingstock for these kinds of situations. These people have severely damaged our public’s perception of their governments. Sure - they often meet their own criminal fates, but their prior positions in our governments is wrecking our governments!

    We all talk about term limits and other reforms. How about we talk about how to handle this all too common situations as well. We have learned that we often cannot expect these people to voluntarily bow out of sight until their matters are resolved. (This is an exception) We have to do something to balance their need to defend themselves against false charges, and protecting our government credibility as well. I would prefer that news articles about Farnham not entitled him and identify him as a former state representative - but he is accused of committing these acts while in office, on our state property.

    If this was rare, then we can just handle it the way we used to. However, Illinois is at a place in it’s history when we cannot just keep seeing our indicted officials making news while the State drags out every ugly piece of evidence into public view. Especially in cases like this.

    I’m tired of reading about public officials like this. Throughout the Blagojevich Debacle, I called his party and his supporters out for giving us a disgusting deadbeat crook, many knew as too corrupt to be in elected office. Good lord, even Quinn pretended to be shockingly ignorant of the Blagojevich scandals, and even defended him as our suspicions grew.

    You want to know why Illinoisans often hate their state government? You want to know why they consider their state government a hindrance to their personal lives? You want to know why they are so cynical?

    It isn’t because they are losers, or stupid, or mean, or that they are having a bad year. It is because they have been repeatedly confronted with crap like this. If you care about Illinois government and its ability to work and survive Rauner and future Rauners - then start demanding that both our political parties do something so that these kinds of situations can be quarantined out of public view or used as proof that we can scrub these kinds of elected officials out of office.

    If you care about Illinois government, we have to do something to stop these public disasters ruining our state’s credibility. It has become far too common a problem. The proposed “fixes” have been denounced for too long by political opportunists. It is time we do something to help save Illinois.


  72. - Rod - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 9:26 am:

    Some of us reading the complaint feel personally violated because we have actually met with Rep Farnham over legislative issues in the very Elgin office where some of this child porn was located. Others of us have received emails from Farnham on legislative issues from the very same account cited in the complaint.

    There are people out here who are simply stunned. The worst part of all of this was that Rep Farnham was highly personable and responded to lobbyists requests and gave you some idea where he stood on bills. When Rich first posted the story of the raid on Rep Farnham’s office some of us speculated he was somehow involved in using undocumented workers for some business venture, this deep dark story was not even contemplated. I do not know what else to say I feel sick.


  73. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 10:24 am:

    VMan, have some class. Don’t use this ugly, incomprehensible situation as an excuse for your boiler-plate gubmint screed.

    You’re not a victim here. How dare you appropriate real victims’ tragedy.


  74. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 10:26 am:

    –In happier times, I remember children playing without so much planning and adult supervision.–

    You can’t be serious. When were those “happier times” when child abuse didn’t exist?


  75. - Scott L - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    I SUSPECT THAT WHEN IT IS ALL OVER THERE THE FEDS WILL NOT HAVE TO LOOK TOO FAR FROM THE 43RD DISTRICT TO FIND OTHERS


  76. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Apr 29, 14 @ 4:48 pm:

    I got part of the way through the complaint and like many others, had to put it down. I think many of us haven’t (thankfully) ever thought of what “child pornography” really means; the term certainly doesn’t adequantely describe what it is…the sexual torture, violence and rape - of children. Truly horrifying. I feel for those in law enforcement who have to see this every day.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* Gage Park victims' identities officially released by medical examiner


* Our View: U.S. Senate candidates should debate outside Chicago
* Bernard Schoenburg: Poe backs Benton over McCann in 50th
* Austin Berg: Illinois manufacturers need bold action from Springfield
* Statehouse Insider: Three days until President Obama turns Illinois around
* Gaming Board seeks to revoke license of terminal operator
* Illinois Gaming Board seeks to revoke license of terminal operator
* Kevin Borgia: Wind energy a low-cost, reliable part of Illinois’s electricity mix
* Charles Krauthammer: The 'establishment' nonsense
* Springfield awaits details on President Obama's visit on Wednesday
* Rauner alters bill that would reopen Illinois State Museum, includes admission fee directive


* Saturday's highlights: PBL boys take second in tourney
* MBB Sneak Peek: No. 5 Iowa makes a visit
* Lucas hurt in victory
* WBB Sneak Peek: Michigan plays host to Illini
* M-S wrestlers lead strong area contingent
* Tate: McCaffery has Iowa in enviable position
* UI roundup: Eggleston paces men's gymnasts
* Illini legends, lists and lore: Tricia Taliaferro
* HS Boy's Basketball: Centennial vs Washington
* Class 2A Wrestling Regionals


* Wheaton College professor put on leave for God remarks to quit in deal
* Buffalo Grove High team wins third state cheer title in 4 years
* Warriors win 41st straight home game, 116-108 over Thunder
* Kindred-spirit QBs Favre, Stabler voted into Hall of Fame
* Anisimov has goal, 3 assists; Blackhawks beat Stars 5-1

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* President Obama goes to Springfield to add......

* Sen. Kirk Introduces Bill to Ensure Retire......

* Suspect Arrested In Battering Death Of Uptown Man
* 15 Cars Parked On Lake Geneva Fall Victim To Weak Ice
* Random thoughts. Union leadership conspiracy theories.
* Art + Activism.
* Art and Activism.
* "Big Game" Happenings
* Thorner: Demand lawmakers enact a permanent Smart Meter opt out for Illinoisans
* Di Leo: Dwindling Jobs...and Attacking the Producers
* Happy 105th Birthday, Mr. Reagan!
* Rauner: State can save $500M on purchases


* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact




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