LEBANON, Pa. (AP) — A former Pennsylvania state lawmaker charged last fall with possession of child pornography pleaded guilty Thursday.
Michael Folmer entered a guilty plea in Lebanon County Court to three counts of possessing child porn and one count of criminal use of a communications facility for having items on his cellphone.
Folmer did not comment as he left the courtroom, but told the judge he would have something to say at his sentencing hearing.
Sentencing was scheduled for late May. Folmer faces up to 10 years in prison, but his attorney Brian Perry said after Thursday’s hearing that he hopes the sentence will be far shorter.
Folmer also will be evaluated to determine whether he should be classified as a violent sexual offender under state laws.
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Folmer was a sitting four-term state senator last September when police arrested and charged him, saying a search of his cellphone on a warrant had turned up images of child pornography.
Folmer promptly resigned from his Senate seat when he was charged. He is now retired and has been engaged in counseling and treatment, Perry said.
Prosecutors said during Thursday’s hearing that Folmer possessed three images of nude children that depicted indecent contact. Folmer was forthcoming and cooperative when questioned by investigators, prosecutors said.
The investigation into Folmer, a Lebanon County Republican, had gone on for months, following a tip from an online social media provider, Tumblr.
Last February, Tumblr sent a complaint to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a user had uploaded at least one image that contained suspected child pornography in December 2017, according to court papers filed by the attorney general’s office in September.
Investigators then traced the Tumblr account to Folmer’s email address and home address, they said. Folmer has not commented publicly about the case.