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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 19, 2015

Former Illinois State Representative Keith Farnham Sentenced To Ninety Six Months For Transporting Child Pornography

CHICAGO — Former Illinois State Rep. KEITH FARNHAM was sentenced to ninety six months in prison today by U.S. District Court Judge Edmond E. Chang as a result of his conviction of transporting child pornography via computers in his office and residence in Elgin last year. Farnham resigned his seat in the Illinois General Assembly in March 2014, less than a week after federal agents seized computers from his home and office.

Farnham, 67, of Elgin, was also ordered to pay a $30,000 fine. Farnham was ordered by Judge Chang to report to prison on May 19, 2015. Farnham will remain on a bond that restricts him to his home and requires around-the-clock electronic monitoring. "This is a despicable crime." said District Court Judge Chang while imposing sentence. "The sex assaults of children in each of the 2700 images represent their own nightmare."

Farnham pled guilty in December 2014, admitting that on November 25, 2013, he sent an email from a computer in his Elgin office with the following message: "do you trade. This is what I lik." Farnham attached two files to the email that he knew contained child pornography. In addition, he possessed images and videos depicting child pornography on computers and electronic storage devices in his residence, car, and offices.

During the course of the investigation, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) executed federal search warrants at Farnham’s state office and residence in Elgin and seized computers and electronic storage devices. On the day the warrant was executed in March 2014, Farnham possessed no fewer than 2,765 images of real minors engaged in sexually explicit acts, including sexual intercourse, with prepubescent children. Some of the images involved sadistic or masochistic conduct and depictions of violence, according to Farnham’s guilty plea. According to the court documents, 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.

"The defendant’s criminal conduct extends far beyond simply viewing sexually explicit photographs online. The defendant actively traded and bartered images and videos depicting child pornography, bragged to others about his own hands-on sexual abuse and exploitation of a six-year-old girl, and actively hid his tracks from law enforcement in order to continue his criminal conduct," the government stated in its sentencing memorandum. "As an elected official, the defendant held himself out as being concerned about ‘protecting your children on the internet’ at the same time, however, he led another life, surfing the internet and message boards for sexually explicit images and further victimizing children of sexual abuse and exploitation."

The sentence 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.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy Storino and Michelle Petersen.

Updated July 23, 2015