A mayor in Maryland has gone from city hall in a Washington D.C. suburb to a county jail cell in less than a week after he was arrested and charged with 56 counts of possession and distribution of child pornography.
Patrick Wojahn, 47, is scheduled for a bail hearing on Monday in a Prince George’s County District Court days after he stepped down as mayor of College Park, a position he held since 2015 in the city just northeast of the nation’s capital and home to the University of Maryland. The hearing was originally set to take place on Friday.
Wojahn, who remained in county jail, has been charged with 40 counts of possession of child exploitative material and 16 counts of distribution of child exploitative material.
His lawyer told the New York Times that they are fully cooperating with law enforcement, but it would be “inappropriate to comment further on the allegations.”
The investigation into the matter began on Feb. 17, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children notified local authorities that a social media account operating in the county possessed and distributed suspected child pornography, Prince George’s County Police Department said in a statement.
During the investigation, police discovered that the social media account belonged to Wojahn, they said.
Late on Wednesday, Wojahn resigned as mayor in the community of 35,000. In his resignation letter, he wrote that it was in the best interests of the city that he step aside and not serve as a distraction.
“We are shocked and disturbed by the news; what has come to light in this investigation is a total surprise to us,” College Park officials wrote in a letter posted on the city’s website.
Hours later, he was arrested after investigators recovered cell phones, a storage device, a tablet and a computer from his home, police said.