Pennsylvania State Senator Resigns After Being Charged With Child Porn Possession

September 19, 2019 Updated: September 19, 2019

A Pennsylvania state senator resigned early Sept. 18 after being arrested a day prior on charges of child pornography possession.

Michael Folmer (R-48), 63, is also being accused of sexual abuse of children, and criminal use of a communication facility.

“We are sickened and disturbed by the charges brought against Mike Folmer yesterday,” Senate President Joe Scarnati (R-25) and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34) said in a statement Sept. 18.

“We have reviewed the criminal complaint and spoke with Mike Folmer early this morning to insist on his resignation from the Senate. We are in receipt of his letter of resignation and the 48th Senatorial District seat is now vacant,” they added.

As per the state constitution, the Senate president is to issue an order for a special election to fill the seat.

A statement from the office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) noted that investigators obtained a warrant to search Folmer’s home after a CyberTip report came through saying that Tumblr had detected that a user had uploaded child pornography using its application in late 2017.

The Tumblr account was traced to Folmer, prosecutors said, and authorities who seized the politician’s phone found two additional images of child pornography during a search of his home in Lebanon, Pa., according to the criminal complaint (pdf).

“This defendant serves as a state Senator and was entrusted to honor and represent his community in the Pennsylvania Capitol,” Shapiro said in a statement. “I will continue to say it—no one is above the law, no matter what position of power they hold. I will continue to work to protect children and hold those who abuse them accountable.”

“All charges discussed are accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty,” the statement from Shapiro’s office also read.

The Magisterial District Justice Thomas Capello’s office said that Folmer has posted his $25,000 bail, the York Daily Record reported.

The case will be prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Christopher Jones.

Shapiro’s office indicated that a preliminary hearing in Folmer’s case has been scheduled for Sept. 26.

Folmer was first elected to the Pennsylvania senate in 2006. Last November, he was reelected to his fourth term. He represented Lebanon County and some parts of Dauphin and York counties.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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