Facing Mounting Pressure, Pennsylvania Lawmaker Charged With Child Porn Resigns From Senate - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Facing Mounting Pressure, Pennsylvania Lawmaker Charged With Child Porn Resigns From Senate

Wolf, a Democrat, said in a brief statement Wednesday that the charges against Republican Sen. Mike Folmer are "disgusting and beyond comprehension"

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    Pennsylvania Lawmaker Michael Folmer Steps Down After Child Porn Charges

    Pennsylvania Sen. Michael Folmer has stepped down after he was charged with possessing child pornography. State leaders had demanded his resignation.

    (Published Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019)

    Senate officials say a Pennsylvania state lawmaker who is facing child pornography possession charges has resigned.

    Sen. Mike Folmer's apparent resignation Wednesday came hours after he was arrested by the state attorney general's office. Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said in statement that they received Folmer's resignation letter after they spoke with him to insist on it.

    Also on Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf called on Folmer to resign. Wolf, a Democrat, said in a brief statement Wednesday that the charges against Republican Sen. Mike Folmer are "disgusting and beyond comprehension," and that Folmer should immediately resign.

    "We elect leaders to serve as a voice for those who do not have the ability to advocate for their own needs, demanding that they will protect our children, families, and communities," Wolf said. "The charges against Senator Folmer are disgusting and beyond comprehension, and show he has taken advantage of the trust and privilege afforded by the people of Pennsylvania."

    Folmer, 63, was arrested and charged Tuesday with possession of child pornography and criminal use of a communication facility, both felonies, according to the state attorney general's office.

    A message left at Folmer's listed home telephone number wasn't immediately returned Tuesday night, and neither were messages for a lawyer that is representing Folmer.

    Investigators allegedly found two images of child pornography on Folmer's cell phone after they asked him to turn it over at his house in Lebanon County. Authorities were acting on a tip from a social media website.

    In February, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a notification from the social media site, Tumblr, that a user had uploaded at least one image that contained suspected child pornography in December 2017, according to court papers provided by the attorney general's office.

    Investigators then traced the Tumblr account to Folmer's email address and home address, they said.

    He was charged with possession of child pornography and criminal use of a communication facility, both felonies.

    Bail was set at $25,000, but it was not immediately clear if Folmer had posted it, the attorney general's office said.

    "Michael Folmer stated that he had been dealing with some personal problems/issues and that he had received child pornography through his Tumblr blog," an agent of the attorney general's office wrote in the court papers.

    Folmer was elected to a fourth four-year term in November and chairs the Senate State Government Committee, where he has spent considerable time recently working on election reform bills. The Senate's top two Republican leaders released a statement Tuesday saying they were shocked to learn of the allegations against Folmer and were removing him of his committee chairmanship.

    Long considered one of the chamber's most conservative members, Folmer was crucial to helping swing Republican votes behind a bill to legalize medical marijuana in 2016. He routinely pulls a miniature copy of the U.S. Constitution from his breast pocket when speaking publicly to emphasize a point.

    On one recent hot-button issue, Folmer had opposed legislation to lift legal barriers that block long-ago victims of child sexual abuse from suing institutions, such as the Roman Catholic Church, that may have covered up the crimes.

    Folmer was first elected in 2006, knocking off the Senate's then-sitting Republican majority leader in that year's anti-pay raise backlash.