College Park mayor charged with possession, distribution of child pornography

WTOP: Police in Prince George’s County, Maryland, have arrested and charged Patrick Wojahn, the mayor of College Park, with possession and distribution of child pornography. The mayor has since resigned.

According to a news release, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted Prince George’s County police on Feb. 17 about a social media account operating in the county that possessed and distributed suspected child pornography.

“Through various investigative techniques, PGPD investigators discovered the social media account belonged to Wojahn,” the new release said.

According to charging documents, police allege Wojahn used an anonymous account to upload a variety of illegal content to Kik, a mobile messaging app, in early to mid January. Kik then notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Using records subpoenaed from internet service providers, police traced the account to Wojahn. Police carried out a search warrant at his home on Feb. 28, seizing multiple cellphones, a storage device, a tablet and a computer.

Wojahn was arrested Thursday morning and charged with 40 counts of possession of child exploitative material and 16 counts of distribution of child exploitative material. He is being held at a county correctional facility.

In a statement, the City of College Park said Wojahn submitted a letter of resignation late Wednesday night effective immediately. He had served as the city’s mayor since 2015 and was previously on the council since 2007.

“I have cooperated fully, and will continue to cooperate, with law enforcement,” Wojahn wrote in the letter. “While this investigation does not involve any official city business of any kind, it is in the best interests of our community that I step aside and not serve as a distraction.”

The City of College Park said it was “shocked and disturbed” by allegations against the now-former mayor.

“The city knows that this news is distressing and difficult for our community, and we encourage our residents to seek any help they feel necessary to work through this trying time,” it added.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Chief of Police Malik Aziz said the investigation into Wojahn was still in its early stages, and further charges were possible.

“My message is real clear, not just for public officials, but for people who are entrusted with public office … these things are not tolerated,” Aziz said, adding that organizations that investigate child exploitation are “working every day to make sure we have a safe county and a safe state.”

Mayor Pro Tem Denise Mitchell will serve as the presiding officer until a special election is held and the city’s new mayor is sworn in. The election must be held within 65 days.

Wojahn is married to an employee of Hubbard Radio Washington DC, which owns WTOP.

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