Governor: Pennsylvania senator arrested for child pornography should resign immediately

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Gov. Tom Wolf says Pennsylvania state Sen. Mike Folmer should “immediately resign” following his arrest for possessing child pornography.

Folmer, a four-term Republican senator, was charged Tuesday evening after state prosecutors said two images of suspected child pornography were found on his cell phone.

In a statement Wednesday, Wolf said the charges against Folmer are “disgusting and beyond comprehension, and show he has taken advantage of the trust and privilege afforded by the people of Pennsylvania.”

Senate Republican leaders announced Folmer’s removal as chair of the Senate State Government Committee soon after the charges were announced by Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

“Further action in response to these charges will be taken by Senate leadership in the coming days,” President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said Majority Leader Jake Corman said in a statement, adding that they were shocked to learn of the allegations and would “fully cooperate with law enforcement regarding this deeply disturbing matter.”

Folmer, 63, was arrested after agents with the attorney general’s child predator unit and the Department of Homeland Security served a search warrant at his Lebanon home.

The search was preceded by a six-month investigation that began March 4, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip from the microblogging and social networking website Tumblr.

Tumblr reported at least one image containing suspected child pornography was uploaded on Dec. 28, 2017, by a user with the screen name hoser44. Tumblr additionally provided investigators with the user’s email and internet protocol addresses, which eventually were linked to Folmer, according to the criminal complaint.

The image, according to the complaint, depicts “a very young female child” engaged in a sexual act.

Folmer was contacted at his Lebanon office at the time of the search and agreed to return home and turn over his phone. He was advised of his Miranda Rights and stated he was willing to speak to the agents without the presence of an attorney.

During an interview, he admitted that the Tumblr account associated with the tip is his. He told investigators that he “had been dealing with some personal problems/issues and that he had received child pornography through his Tumblr blog,” the complaint states.

Two images of apparent child pornography were found during a computer forensics search of the phone. “The two images discovered depicted indecent contact with a minor,” the complaint states.

Folmer is charged with three felony counts of possession of child pornography and one felony count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Folmer was arraigned before a district judge who set a cash bail of $25,000, which was not posted immediately, according to online court records. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26.

Folmer represents the 48th senatorial district which includes Lebanon County and parts of Dauphin and York counties. He was elected to the state Senate in 2006, in the wake of a public backlash over the legislative pay raise of 2005.

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