College Park Mayor Resigns amid Arrest on Child Pornography Charges

Washington Post photo by Matt McClain
The mayor of College Park in Prince George’s County, Md., has been arrested on child pornography charges.

The mayor of College Park, Md., was arrested Thursday morning and has been charged with 56 counts of possession and distribution of child pornography, videos that were shared on the social media app Kik.

Patrick Wojahn, the 47-year-old mayor of the town that hosts the University of Maryland campus, resigned from his post Wednesday night ahead of the arrest, the city said in a statement.

Prince George’s County Police photo
Patrick Wojahn, 47, is charged with 40 counts of possession of child exploitative material and 16 counts of distribution of child exploitative material. He resigned as mayor of College Park on Wednesday night.

Wojahn was elected as the city’s mayor in 2015 and before that he had served on the city council since 2007. Mayor Pro Tem Denise Mitchell will serve as presiding officer until a special election can be held, the city’s statement said.

In his resignation letter to the city council and city manager, released publicly on Thursday by the city, Wojahn wrote that the Prince George’s County Police Department had executed a search warrant on his home on Feb. 28 as part of an “ongoing police investigation.”

“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.”

On the day police searched his home, investigators interviewed Wojahn, according to charging documents. Wojahn was read his Miranda rights but waived them, police said in court papers, and told investigators that the Kik account that had uploaded the child porn videos – “skippy_md” – belonged to him.

Police wrote in the charging documents that Wojahn “advised that he has viewed and possessed files depicting child pornography.”

Wojahn is being held at the Prince George’s County jail pending a bail review hearing, according to court records. It was not immediately clear whether Wojahn had an attorney.

Wojahn said in his resignation letter that he was “stepping away to deal with my own mental health.”

At a news conference Thursday afternoon with police department and state’s attorney’s office investigators, Prince George’s police chief Malik Aziz said the investigation is “active and open” and authorities anticipate filing additional charges in the case. When asked what those charges might be, both Aziz and Lt. Michael Snyder, the commander of the department’s unit handling child abuse and internet crimes, declined to elaborate.

Aziz and Snyder said the department is working with the state’s attorney’s office, the Maryland State Police and federal authorities to complete the investigation. Aziz said there is no indication at this time that Wojahn was involved in the production of the child pornography he allegedly possessed and shared, but that remains part of the open investigation. Authorities said they are working to identify the children in the videos.

Aziz said the investigation moved quickly, which is the department’s standard for these kinds of crimes.

“We should be thankful for that, this is something that we should applaud, that we have the type of men and women who work these cases every day,” he said. “We want to make sure we bring some swiftness to something like this.”

“Anything involving a child, it not only disturbs me,” the chief said, “but it disturbs the men and women behind me.”

Prince George’s police department investigators said in the charging documents that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children flagged them to the suspicious Kik account on Feb. 17. The account, the tipsters said, was operating in the county and in possession of and distributing suspected child pornography. They flagged 15 videos and one image depicting explicit sexual acts involving prepubescent boys and adult men, which had been uploaded to the social account in January 2023, police said.

Investigators with the police department linked the account to Wojahn, authorities said, and searched his College Park home in late February. Prince George’s police took custody of several cellphones, a storage device, a tablet and a computer, authorities said.

Investigators also obtained a warrant for Kik, ordering the social media platform to turn over content related to Wojahn’s account. Authorities found two dozen videos and images depicting further sex acts with minor boys, police said in court papers.

Wojahn was arrested early Thursday morning, police said. He has been charged with 40 misdemeanor counts of possession of child exploitative material and 16 felony counts of distribution of child exploitative material.

“When you’re entrusted with such high office, elected by the people, it is disturbing,” Aziz said. “People count on public officials, people who are supposed to be honest and trustworthy and have a high degree of integrity. It is troublesome.”

Aziz said it was “important” for him to add that he knows there are a lot of people “struggling,” and he encouraged those people to seek professional help if they need it before those struggles turn into criminal acts.

“We should urge those people to seek help and seek remedy before it escalates,” the chief said.

In a statement, County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks commended the county police department for “doing an excellent job of investigating this matter.”

“I am so sad to hear that any number of children have been exploited,” Alsobrooks said. “The most profound obligation of any community is to take care of our kids. . . . We will await a fair resolution through our court system.”

Wojahn’s resignation and charges come after nearly eight years in office in which he pushed forward progressive policies and integrated young voices from the community and the University of Maryland.

During his tenure, he advocated for development that would attract businesses and residents, helping bring the first WeWork to Maryland, a new hotel and the now-closed MilkBoy ArtHouse to the city – delivering on many campaign promises he had about building up the city.

Before serving as mayor, Wojahn served as a District 1 council member for the city.

Fazlul Kabir, College Park’s current District 1 council member, told The Post on Thursday that he’s confident the city’s community will be able to handle Wojahn’s resignation. “We have very engaged residents, we have trusted city council members,” he said. “As a community, we can deal with this.”