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Ex-State Rep. Keith Farnham pleads guilty in child porn case

Former Illinois State Rep. Keith Farnham will likely die behind bars after he pleaded guilty Friday to trading child pornography online.

Farnham, 66, admitted possessing more than 2,700 photos and videos of child pornography, including images of a girl as young as 3 years old being sadistically sexually abused.

Wearing a green sweater and carrying a green oxygen tank to help his breathing, the seriously ill Elgin Democrat answered “yes” in a loud and clear voice when asked if he’d shared a series of graphic and depraved images. Moments later he plead guilty to a count that will see him sentenced to between 5 and 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors called for Farnham to immediately be taken into custody, as is typical in child porn cases, but U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang allowed Farnham to remain under house arrest until his sentencing in March.

Farnham has terminal pulmonary fibrosis, bladder cancer and hepatitis C — serious medical conditions that qualify as “exceptional circumstances” Chang said.

Farnham admitted he’d emailed child porn from his Elgin office and from his home. That included a video of a 6- or 7-year-old girl being abused, which he sent on Nov. 25 last year with a message that read, “This is what I lik[e].”

His attorney, Terry Ekl, said Farnham’s pedophilia was “a sickness that he’s in treatment for.”

But Ekl denied that Farnham had ever personally abused a child, despite claims Farnham made in an email intercepted by the feds last year that he had sexually abused a 6-year-old.

“He never had any physical contact with a child,” Ekl said. “He simply — though, it’s despicable from all of our viewpoints — viewed and traded child pornography online.”

Farnham quit public office shortly after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers raided his home and state office in Elgin and seized a computer on March 13.

Chang warned him that federal sentencing guidelines call for a prison term of about 15 years.

But Ekl said he’d ask for the minimum of five years. Though Farnham was diagnosed two years ago with pulmonary fibrosis, which has a 50 percent three-year survival rate, he’s “100 percent certain to go to prison,” Ekl said.

Asked if that amounted to a life sentence, Ekl added, “It’s likely he’s going to die in the penitentiary.”

Keith Farnham Plea Agreement — NSFW