State Sen. Michael Folmer resigns after being charged with possession of child pornography

UPDATE (Wednesday, 12:12 p.m.): State Sen. Michael Folmer has officially resigned, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman.

The Senate leaders issued the following statement Wednesday:

“We are sickened and disturbed by the charges brought against Mike Folmer yesterday. We have reviewed the criminal complaint and spoke with Mike Folmer early this morning to insist on his resignation from the Senate.  We are in receipt of his letter of resignation and the 48th Senatorial District seat is now vacant.”

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HARRISBURG -- State Sen. Michael Folmer has been charged with three counts of sexual abuse of children - possession of child pornography and a single count of criminal use of a communication facility, according to court documents.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the charges against state Sen. Folmer Tuesday -- the same day authorities executed a search warrant at his Lebanon home.

Authorities began investigating on March 4 after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a complaint less than a month prior from a social networking website which reported that at least one image containing suspected child pornography was uploaded on December 28, 2017, charging documents said.

The social networking website provided authorities with information regarding the individual who uploaded the image, which included an email address.

Sen. Michael Folmer booking photo

Authorities subpoenaed Yahoo from subscriber information related to the specific email address and then AT&T Wireless for subscriber information pertaining to a phone number associated with said email address.

That information led to state Sen. Folmer's residence on North 8th Street in Lebanon, where authorities conducted surveillance at the home in August before executing a search warrant on Tuesday.

State Sen. Folmer, a Republican, was at his office at the time of the search but returned home and turned over his cellphone, which revealed two images of apparent child pornography. Charging documents said the images depicted indecent contact with a minor.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman released the following statement:

"We are shocked to learn tonight of the allegations made against Senator Folmer. We will fully cooperate with law enforcement regarding this deeply disturbing matter.

"Given the severity of these charges, Senator Folmer is immediately removed as Chair of the Senate State Government Committee. Further action in response to these charges will be taken by Senate Leadership in the coming days."

During an interview with authorities, the state senator reportedly admitted that the social networking website associated with the original complaint was his, as was the email address. He added, reportedly, that he had been dealing with some personal problems and received the child pornography through his blog on the website.

Governor Tom Wolf is calling for Folmer to resign after being charged with possession of child pornography.

This is the statement released by Gov. Wolf:

“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. 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. He should immediately resign.”

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale also called on Folmer to resign from his Senate seat after the Lebanon County legislator was arrested on charges of possessing child pornography.

“The vile, disgusting charges against Mike Folmer are beyond shocking and warrant his immediate resignation from the Senate,” DePasquale said. “People in leadership positions must be held to a higher standard and Folmer has no business holding a position of public trust.”

Folmer now faces charges.

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