Pennsylvania state senator resigns after being arrested on child porn charges

Pennsylvania state Sen. Michael Folmer (R) reportedly resigned a day after he was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography.

"We are sickened and disturbed by the charges brought against Mike Folmer yesterday. We have reviewed the criminal complaint and spoke with Mike Folmer early this morning to insist on his resignation from the Senate," Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R) and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R) wrote in a joint statement.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who had called for Folmer’s resignation, said his stepping down was "the right decision," spokesman J.J. Abbott said in a statement.

"We elect leaders to serve as a voice for those who do not have the ability to advocate for their own needs, demanding that they will protect our children, families, and communities," Wolf said, according to CNN. "The charges against Senator Folmer are disgusting and beyond comprehension, and show he has taken advantage of the trust and privilege afforded by the people of Pennsylvania."

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Scarnati and Corman said they would immediately remove Folmer, 63, as the chairman of the state government committee. His seat is now vacant, prompting the Senate president to issue a writ for a special election to fill the spot, according to the state constitution.

Folmer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) said Tuesday that Folmer’s arrest was the result of an investigation that started with a CyberTip report that Tumblr had discovered a user had uploaded child pornography using its application.

The investigation led to Folmer’s home, where authorities with the Office of Attorney General’s Child Predator Section, Lebanon City Police Department and U.S. Department of Homeland Security found images of child pornography on his phone. 

Folmer was charged with sexual abuse of children, possession of child pornography and criminal use of a communication facility. Senior Deputy Attorney General Christopher Jones will prosecute the case.

Folmer, who was elected to his fourth Senate term in November, represented all of Lebanon County and parts of Dauphin and York counties.