Ex-Rep. Farnham, charged in child porn case, confined to home

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A federal judge on Wednesday ordered a former state representative accused of trading child pornography online to be confined to his Elgin home until the case is resolved.

U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert also ordered Keith Farnham to refrain from using computers.

The Elgin Democrat, 66, emailed to what he believed was a fellow pedophile videos of children who appeared to be as young as 6 months old being molested, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.

But the videos he allegedly sent were being monitored covertly by an undercover Homeland Security investigator.

Farnham resigned last month citing undisclosed “health issues.”

On Wednesday, Farnham looked gaunt and carried a portable oxygen tank. He answered “yes” to the judge when asked if he understood his rights.

Shortly after the brief hearing, Farnham’s attorney, Terry Ekl, told reporters he had not reviewed the case and couldn’t discuss the evidence.

Ekl said his client has serious medical conditions, including a past bout with bladder cancer. Farnham is also in need of a lung transplant, Ekl said.

“Between his physical health and these charges, he’s having a very difficult time,” Ekl said.

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

The federal complaint alleges he used a phony name in online chatrooms to trade child porn while at his office and at his home. In one disturbing webchat with the undercover agent in November, he boasted that he’d sexually abused a 6-year-old girl, the complaint alleges.

Though he has not been charged with molesting the girl, he faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of possessing child pornography.

If the allegations against Farnham are true, they are at odds with two pieces of legislation he co-sponsored that aimed to toughen penalties against those who possess child pornography.

Last year, he joined as a co-sponsor to House Bill 2647, which provided that possession of each piece of child pornography constituted a separate crime and gave judges new authority to impose consecutive sentences for child pornography crimes.

The other bill that Farnham was a co-sponsor increased penalties for the production and possession of child pornography if the victims are under 13.

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