West News Wire: Patrick Wojahn, the mayor of College Park, Maryland, resigned on Wednesday, the day before he was taken into custody and charged with 56 counts of child pornography. Police reported that he was charged with 16 counts of distribution of child exploitation material and 40 counts of possession child exploitation material.
At a press conference on Thursday, Prince George’s County Police Chief Aziz Malik called the situation “disturbing.”
It is troubling because there are numerous ways in which the public depends on public servants, people who are meant to be trustworthy, honest, and have a high level of integrity.
Wojahn had been mayor since 2015 and was previously a city council member.
Wojahn wrote in his resignation letter to the city that “on February 28, 2023, a search warrant was executed on my residence as part of an ongoing police investigation. I have cooperated fully, and will continue to cooperate, with law enforcement.”
“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,” Wojahn wrote. “I am stepping away to deal with my own mental health.”
Prince George’s County Police said it was tipped off by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that suspected child pornography had been uploaded to the messaging site KiK as early as Jan. 10. KiK removed the videos and then informed the NCMEC, which alerted the police on Feb. 17, according to police.
A subpoena was later issued to Yahoo! for information about the email account associated with the KiK account, according to the statement of charges from the Maryland State’s Attorney. That Yahoo! account’s recovery email was Wojahn’s official government email, authorities said.
Police later served a search warrant at the former mayor’s College Park home. Investigators recovered multiple cell phones, a storage device, a tablet and a computer, according to police.
Police said they don’t yet know who the victims are, but they had no indication that Wojahn knew the victims.