In a new filing in Chicago’s Federal Court, former State Representative Keith Farnham said Thursday that his sentence on child pornography charges should be limited to a maximum of five years, although his lawyer said Farnham is so sick, he will likely never serve the time.
Attorney Terry Ekl asked again that Farnham’s sentencing be delayed, arguing that his client is in such failing health, he is "not competent mentally or physically to attend a sentencing hearing," which is currently set for March 19.
The former lawmaker in December pleaded guilty to the charges, and the filing made Thursday paints a sordid picture of Farnham’s life, which he indicates was rife with sexual abuse, beginning at the age of six.
"The defendant was sexually abused between the ages of six and 10 by a boy seven years older than Keith," Farnham’s attorney Terry Ekl wrote in the motion. "When Keith told his mother, she blamed him for the sexual abuse and proceeded to beat him."
The document says Farnham ran away to New York City at age 13, where he survived by living on the street, stealing food, and sleeping on subways.
"He met a man on the street who offered to take him in and provide him with food and shelter," Ekl wrote. "The man proceeded to repeatedly rape the defendant, and ultimately he was able to get away from the man."
After being returned to his family in Maine, the court document says Farnham survived by sleeping in cars and living on the street to stay away from an abusive homelife. It suggests he only found stability when he was placed in a boy’s training center, and later, in the United States Navy.
Ekl did not attempt to minimize the behavior for which Farnham now faces prison.
"The Defendant first became addicted to adult pornography which ultimately resulted in a fascination with child pornography," he wrote. "As part of his involvement in the viewing of child pornography, the Defendant traded photos of children with others through the Internet."
Despite allegations in his indictment, Farnham insists in the motion that he never engaged in actual sex with children.
"Despite a belief by some that the viewing of child pornography is a sickness, there is no excuse for the misconduct the Defendant engaged in," his lawyer wrote. "That misconduct, however, did not include any sexual contact with any minor."
Declaring that his sentence should be limited to five years, Ekl reminded the court of Farnham’s illnesses, which include pulmonary fibrosis and bladder cancer.
"The simple fact is that Keith Farnham will die within the next several months," he wrote. "The reality is that no sentence the court imposes will be served."
The health issues were cited as the reason Farnham resigned from office nearly one year ago.