Pennsylvania Senator Charged with Possession of Sexually Explicit Images of Minors
Mike Folmer, a Republican who became a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate has resigned after being arrested on charges of possession of sexual abuse of children after pornographic images that appear to detect minors were found on his phone. Folmer is known for being one of the first conservative politicians in Pennsylvania to embrace the reform of medical marijuana laws, earning him the nickname “Marijuana Mike” and starting a trend of increasing Republican support for legal medical cannabis. How his arrest and resignation will affect Pennsylvania politics remains uncertain; under Pennsylvania law, at least 60 days must go by before a new senator can be elected to Folmer’s vacant seat. Meanwhile, what happens next in his criminal case will depend in large part on the actions of his Internet sex crimes defense attorney.
Possession of Images Counts as Sexual Abuse
Laws on sexual abuse of minors are such that a person can be convicted of sexual abuse of a child even if there is no physical contact. The law strives to protect children from sexual exploitation by making it illegal for adults to behave in a sexual way toward minors in any manner. For example, an adult who engages in an online conversation with a minor in which he attempts to persuade the minor to meet him in person for sexual purposes can face criminal charges. Likewise, not only is it illegal to produce or distribute pornographic images of minors, but it is also legal to possess them. People accused of possession of child pornography often face a federal investigation. If they are convicted, their names go on the sex offender registry, in addition to any other punishments they may receive as part of their sentence.
In the News
Senator Michael Folmer was arrested at his home in Lebanon, Pennsylvania on the evening of September 17, 2019; he resigned his Senate seat the following day. Police searched Folmer’s phone and found two images depicting a minor in a sexual situation. The investigation that led to Folmer’s arrest began in December 2017. A child pornography image was uploaded to a user’s account on the website Tumblr, and the site’s administrators notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Eventually, the images were traced to Folmer’s home computer. Folmer faces four felony charges, namely three counts of “sexual abuse of children: possession of child pornography” and one of “criminal use of a communication device.” Although he, like all defendants, is innocent until proven guilty, his fellow Republican senators urged him to resign his Senate seat.
Let Us Help You Today
The presumption of innocence applies even in federal investigations and even for the most despicable crimes. A criminal defense lawyer can help you decide whether you would be wiser to fight the charges or to enter a plea of guilty. Contact Pittsburgh child pornography lawyer Gary E. Gerson if you are facing charges and need assistance with your case.