Keith Farnham begins prison sentence he’s likely never to complete

SHARE Keith Farnham begins prison sentence he’s likely never to complete
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Former state Rep. Keith Farnham has reported to federal prison Tuesday to begin an eight-year sentence. | Sun-Times file photo

The 8-year prison sentence that former state Rep. Keith Farnham will likely never complete for his “despicable crime” of trafficking in child pornography has begun.

The terminally ill 67-year-old Elgin Democrat was to surrender to a federal prison in Butner, N.C., by noon Tuesday. A Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Farnham had arrived. Farnham has pulmonary fibrosis, bladder cancer and hepatitis C. And as of his sentencing in March, he purportedly was expected to die within three months.

U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang gave Farnham permission earlier this month to begin the 833-mile trek to the prison on Sunday. His attorney, Terry Ekl, wrote that Farnham must make the trip by car because his use of an oxygen tank prohibited travel by air.

Farnham pleaded guilty in December to collecting more than 2,700 pictures and videos by trading with other pedophiles online. The images he traded for from his home, his district office and from a Springfield hotel room included depictions of sadistic and sexual abuse of children as young as 6 months old. In one email seized by investigators, he boasted to a man whom he was trading child pornography with that he had himself sexually abused a 6-year-old girl.

In another, he wrote, “12 is about as old as I can handle — what I really like is 6, 7, 8.”

When Chang sentenced Farnham, he found it more likely than not that Farnham had personally sexually abused a young girl.

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