Folmer behavior troubling
The “personal problems/issues” to which he alluded did not give 63-year-old Pennsylvania state Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, the right or authority to access child pornography.
Although Folmer must be judged innocent until proven guilty, the senator, elected to his fourth term last November, allegedly admitted to investigators that he had received child pornography through his Tumblr blog.
He promptly resigned last week.
It was Tumblr, a microblogging and social networking website, that reportedly triggered the investigation of Folmer on March 4 when it tipped off the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that at least one image containing suspected child pornography had been uploaded on Dec. 28, 2017, by a user with the screen name hoser44.
During his interview with authorities, Folmer allegedly admitted that the Tumblr account associated with the tip was his.
According to the criminal complaint in which Folmer is the defendant, the image in question depicts “a very young female child” engaged in a sexual act.
With all of the adult pornography that is available online and through other sources, it is deeply troubling that Folmer, a long-respected lawmaker, would resort to such horrific behavior, even within the privacy of whatever venue the “child porn” uploading apparently occurred.
Even the screen name in question has implications that should be regarded as totally out of character for a person in Folmer’s position of public trust.
If he is convicted or pleads guilty, the court handling the case should opt against leniency, no matter what good Folmer has accomplished under the state Capitol dome in Harrisburg.
A similar viewpoint is apropos in connection with Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez, also arrested Tuesday, who is accused of felony child-sex charges, including solicitation of a child.
It is deeply troubling that people in such positions of power, public respect and adulation would allow themselves to get caught up in such a sordid “underworld” capable of destroying everything for which they have worked hard to achieve.
But if they have done what they are accused of doing that doesn’t merit the sympathy that some “generous” people or a lenient judge might be willing to accord.
The accused will have to deal with the consequences, no matter how harsh those consequences might be.
In Folmer’s case, two images of apparent child pornography reportedly were found during a computer forensics search of his cellphone.
“The two images discovered depicted indecent contact with a minor,” the complaint against the senator states.
Commendably, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman didn’t delay in announcing that Folmer, whose 48th senatorial district also includes parts of Dauphin and York counties, was being removed immediately from his important position as chairman of the Senate State Government Committee.
Meanwhile, Gov. Tom Wolf was right in declaring that Folmer should resign immediately in the wake of the charges that the governor described as “disgusting and beyond comprehension.”
Wolf said Wednesday morning that the charges provide clear indication that Folmer took advantage of the trust and privilege afforded by people of this state.
Whatever the personal problems or issues with which Folmer was dealing, he chose one of the worst ways possible to try to resolve them, if indeed the charges against him accurately depict that for which he is accused.