The Republican was arrested after an investigation found child pornography images on his phone

By Rachel DeSantis
September 18, 2019 10:06 AM
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Credit: AP/Shutterstock

Pennsylvania State Sen. Michael Folmer was charged with possession of child pornography on Tuesday after authorities discovered disturbing images on his phone.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a press release an investigation was launched after his office was tipped off that someone using the social media platform Tumblr had uploaded an image of child pornography.

The investigation led authorities to the Republican’s home in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, where a search warrant found child pornography images on his phone.

The warrant was executed by the Office of Attorney General’s Child Predator Section, the Lebanon City Police Department and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“This defendant serves as a state Senator and was entrusted to honor and represent his community in the Pennsylvania Capitol,” Shaprio said in a statement. “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.”

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Folmer was charged with sexual abuse of children, possession of child pornography and criminal use of a communication facility.

A spokesperson for Folmer did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Shortly after Shapiro announced the charges, Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said in a joint statement that Folmer would be removed as Chair of the Senate State Government Committee, effective immediately.

“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 read. “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.”

Folmer, who is married with two adult children and seven grandchildren, according to his website, was elected to the Senate in 2006 and was re-elected to a fourth term in November.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to http://www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.