Pennsylvania Senator Faces Child Pornography Charges

Senator Michael Folmer (R-Lebanon County), is charged with sexual abuse of children, possession of child pornography and criminal use of a communication facility

A Pennsylvania state senator is facing child pornography charges, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Tuesday night.

Senator Michael Folmer (R-Lebanon County) is charged with sexual abuse of children, possession of child pornography and criminal use of a communication facility.

The investigation began in March of this year after officials received a tip reporting a user had uploaded an image of child pornography on the website Tumblr in December of 2017. The investigation, which lasted several months, then led to Folmer’s home in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, officials said.

On Tuesday, Lebanon City Police, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Attorney General’s Child Predator Section executed a search warrant and found images of child porn on Folmer’s phone, according to investigators.

During an interview with investigators, Folmer allegedly admitted that he received the child pornography through his Tumblr blog.

“I will continue to say it — no one is above the law, no matter what position of power they hold," Shapiro wrote. "I will continue to work to protect children and hold those who abuse them accountable." 

The 63-year-old was elected to a fourth term in November. 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.

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

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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