Metro Weekly

Gay Mayor of College Park Arrested on Child Porn Charges

Patrick Wojahn, the openly gay mayor of College Park, faces 56 charges for allegedly possessing and distributing child exploitative material.

Patrick Wojahn – Photo: Prince George’s County Police Department

Patrick Wojahn, the 47-year-old gay mayor of College Park, Maryland, has been arrested on numerous child pornography charges, according to the Prince George’s County Police Department.

Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz and Jessica Garth, the chief of the Special Victims and Family Violence unit of the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office, announced Wojahn’s arrest at a news conference on Thursday morning.

According to Aziz, on Feb. 17, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children notified the police department that a social media account on the app Kik, which was operating in the county, possessed and distributed suspected child pornography. Reportedly videos and an image were uploaded to the account in January.

Investigators later determined that the social media account belonged to Wojahn.

On Monday, Feb. 28, police served a search warrant at Wojahn’s College Park home, recovering multiple cell phones, a storage device, a tablet, and a computer.

They later arrested Wojahn on Thursday morning, charging him with 40 counts of possession of child exploitative material and 16 counts of distribution of child exploitative material.

Additional charges may be forthcoming, as the investigation remains active and ongoing, reports D.C.-based ABC affiliate WJLA.

“We send a clear message to anyone involved in this type of material that units like this are looking,” said Aziz. “They’re working every day to make sure that we have a safe county and a safe state.” 

According to WJLA, authorities say there is no indication that child pornography was produced in this case. 

Wojahn is currently being held in the custody of the Prince George’s County Department of Corrections. A spokeswoman for the State’s Attorney’s Office told The New York Times he is being held without bond and will appear before a judge on Friday.

Wojahn, who was elected mayor of College Park in 2015 after serving eight years on the city council, resigned, effective immediately.

He will be replaced by Mayor Pro Tem Denise Mitchell, who will remain in office until a special election can be held within the next 65 days. Whoever wins that race will serve out the remainder of Wojahn’s term until the next mayor is seated following the city’s quadrennial general election on Nov. 5, 2023. 

David Moyse, an attorney representing Wojahn, told the Times that his client had resigned from office and is cooperating with the investigation, but declined to comment further on the case.

In his resignation letter, Wojahn called serving as College Park’s mayor an “honor and privilege.” He asserted that he continues to “cooperate fully” with police, adding, “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. Many of you have already reached out with well wishes and thoughts, and I am eternally grateful.  I am stepping away to deal with my own mental health. I ask that you continue to keep me and my family in your prayers.”

Wojahn was elected Chair of the National League of Cities 2023 University Communities Council just two weeks ago. He previously served in leadership positions for various councils and boards, including as chair of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board and chair of the National League of Cities Transportation and Infrastructure Service Policy Committee.

He was a founding member of the board of directors for the College Park Community Foundation, and previously served on the boards of directors of the College Park Community Food Bank and the now-defunct organization Equality Maryland.

In addition to serving as mayor, Wojahn worked as the director of government relations for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit group that seeks to convert unused rail corridors into trails and to expand bicycle and pedestrian routes.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy said in a statement that Wojahn has been placed on leave, effective immediately.

Those with additional information potentially related to the case are being asked to contact the Prince George’s County Police Department at 301-772-4930, or to leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477), or submitting the tip digitally at www.pgcrimesolvers.com or through the “P3 Tips” mobile app. The case number is 23-0009239.

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