PENNSYLVANIA'S #1 WEEKLY NEWSPAPER • locally owned since 1854

Sen. Mike Folmer placed under arrest on child pornography charges, Gov. Wolf calls on him to resign

By Jason Maddux

jasonmaddux@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 9/18/19

State Sen. Mike Folmer, whose 48th District includes Middletown and Lower Swatara and Londonderry Townships, was charged Tuesday with possession of child pornography and placed under arrest.

He …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Sen. Mike Folmer placed under arrest on child pornography charges, Gov. Wolf calls on him to resign

Posted

State Sen. Mike Folmer, whose 48th District includes Middletown and Lower Swatara and Londonderry Townships, was charged Tuesday with possession of child pornography and placed under arrest.

He has been stripped of his chairmanship of the Senate State Government Committee, and Gov. Tom Wolf has called on him to resign.

Online court records state that his preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Thomas M. Capello in Lebanon County is set for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 26. He posted $25,000 bail, according to online court records.

According to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the investigation began as a result of a CyberTip reporting that an electronic service provider, Tumblr, discovered that a user had uploaded an image of child pornography using their application.

The investigation led to Folmer’s home in Lebanon. The Office of Attorney General’s Child Predator Section, Lebanon City Police Department, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security executed a search warrant Tuesday and found images of child pornography on the defendant’s phone, according to Shapiro.

The defendant was charged Tuesday evening with sexual abuse of children, possession of child pornography, and criminal use of a communication facility.

Folmer, 63, and his wife, Shelia, have two grown children and seven grandchildren.

“This defendant serves as a state senator and was entrusted to honor and represent his community in the Pennsylvania Capitol,” Shapiro said in a press release Tuesday. “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.”

According to a statement released jointly late Tuesday by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, Folmer has lost his State Government Committee chairmanship.

“We are shocked to learn tonight of the allegations made against Senator Folmer. We will fully cooperate with law enforcement regarding this deeply disturbing matter,” the statement reads.

“Given the severity of these charges, Senator Folmer is immediately being removed as chair of the Senate State Government Committee. Further action in response to these charges will be taken by Senate leadership in the coming days.” 

Gov. Tom Wolf called for Folmer to resign immediately:

“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. 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. He should immediately resign.”

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale sent out a tweet early Wednesday that also called for Folmer to resign.

“The charges against Senator Folmer are beyond shocking. Abuse of children in any fashion is unacceptable. People in leadership must be held to.a higher standard. He must resign immediately,” the tweet read.

Sen. John DiSanto, whose 15th Senate District includes part of Dauphin County and borders Folmer’s, also called for Folmer’s resignation on Wednesday morning.

“Reprehensible. The sexual exploitation of children is immoral and criminal. He needs to resign immediately and be held accountable for his actions,” the Republican said in a press release.

Folmer, a Republican, was elected to the Senate in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010, 2014 and 2018. He is widely known as “Marijuana Mike” for his push to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

Folmer also serves on the Education; Intergovernmental Operations; Labor and Industry; Communications and Technology; and Rules and Executive Nominations committees.

His family owned a fruit and produce store in Lebanon. He was elected to the Lebanon City Council in 1986.

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