Former state Rep. Keith Farnham pleaded guilty Friday to a federal charge of transporting child pornography on computers in his office and home in Elgin last year.
Farnham could have been jailed immediately after his guilty plea, but judge Edmond Chang allowed him to remain free on home confinement pending his sentencing, which is set for March.
He faces a minimum sentence of five years in prison.
Following court, Farnham’s attorney, Terry Ekl, bristled at suggestions that the public would have preferred to see the 67 year old Farnham jailed immediately.
“He is, according to his doctor, in need of a lung transplant,” Ekl said. “He cannot breathe without oxygen.”
“He’s not running from any punishment. You all heard it. He’s doing to get a minimum of five years. He’s going to go into custody. And frankly, I could care less if the public thinks he should go in today, as opposed March, or May!”
Ekl insisted that all of Farnham’s child pornography activities were “fairly recent”, and that his client, despite his boasts online, had never actually abused children.
“He’s accepted responsibility for his conduct, which I think we all agree is something we cannot understand,” Ekl said. “It’s a sickness!”
Farnham was charged last April with emailing videos of children who appeared to be as young as six months old. He resigned his post in the Illinois General Assembly, shortly after officers from U.S Immigration and Customs officers raided his home and office in Elgin March 13.
The federal complaint alleged that in one online chat, Farnham boasted that he had once sexually abused a 6 year old girl.
In March, agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations executed federal search warrants at Farnham's state office and home in Elgin, seizing computers and electronic storage devices. They found Farnham had no fewer than 2,765 images of minors engaged in sexually explicit acts, including sexual intercourse, with prepubescent children, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office. Some of the images involved sadistic or masochistic conduct and depictions of violence, according to Farnham's guilty plea.
In a motion filed Wednesday by his attorney Terry Ekl, Farnham acknowledged that he entered into a plea of guilty, and is “prepared to serve a minimum of five years in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons.” The motion notes that Farnham “accepts responsibility for his conduct which has led to this result.”
But the Federal statutes allow the government to immediately take Farnham into custody, after his guilty plea is entered. In his filing with the Federal Court Wednesday, the former legislator, who is 66 years old, notes that he suffers from a “complex set of medical problems,” including bladder cancer, Hepatitis C, and pulmonary fibrosis.
Confined to his home since his arrest, Farnham’s attorney noted that he has abided by all orders of the court, and asked that he be permitted to stay at home on electronic monitoring until a yet-to-be-determined surrender date.
“Following this Court’s sentence and the designation by the Bureau of Prisons as to the location of his confinement,” the motion states, “the Defendant, his doctors, and his attorney will have an opportunity to work together, to establish a medical treatment plan to meet the unique medical needs of this Defendant prior to entering the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his sentence.”