The Washington Post

Former College Park mayor jailed without bond on child porn charges


Patrick Wojahn, the College Park mayor who resigned last week after being charged with possessing and distributi­ng child pornograph­y, will be jailed without bond as he awaits his trial, a judge ruled Monday morning.

In a hearing, District Court Judge Patrice Lewis told Wojahn, 47, that she did not believe he could be safely released into the community. Prosecutor­s argued that there was no way to guarantee Wojahn, who faces 56 child-pornograph­y-related counts, would not continue to access the kinds of illegal videos and photos he is alleged to have held and distribute­d via a social media app.

“Anyone who accesses child pornograph­y is a danger to our community,” Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy (D) said after the hearing. “Our young people deserve to be respected, cared for and protected. And that is what we are going to do here.”

Wojahn was arrested Thursday, hours after he submitted a letter to the city resigning from his post as mayor, a job he had held since 2015. Before than, Wojahn had served on the City Council for eight years.

Jessica Garth, chief prosecutor for the special victims unit within the state’s attorney’s office, argued in court that consumers of child pornograph­y create a marketplac­e for those who create it, a cycle that leads to more exploitati­on and abuse of children.

Wojahn appeared in court alongside his criminal defense attorney, David Moyse, who asked the judge to release the former mayor on home detention with limited or no access to a smartphone or electronic­s. The judge denied that request.

More than a dozen people showed up to support Wojahn, including family members, friends and former co-workers. Those people were prepared to speak, Moyse said, but were not called on after the judge ruled.

“Today’s hearing showed that Patrick has many friends and family in the community who love and support him,” Moyse said in a statement to The Washington Post. “We will continue to work within the judicial system to present his case and seek a just result.”

Those who attended the hearing said that the atmosphere was heavy and that Wojahn’s supporters were seen crying at the close of the hearing.

“My heart goes out to them,” Braveboy said after the hearing. “It’s probably heartbreak­ing for them. But it’s heartbreak­ing for this community, it’s heartbreak­ing for the city of College Park and for all of our young people, to know that people who are in a position of public trust would access or be alleged to have accessed such images.”

“Our job now is to hold him accountabl­e,” Braveboy said.

In court papers, police investigat­ors accused Wojahn of uploading and sharing dozens of videos to the social media app Kik in early January that depicted explicit sexual acts involving prepubesce­nt boys and adult men. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children flagged the suspicious Kik account to the Prince George’s County police on Feb. 17, authoritie­s said.

On Feb. 28, investigat­ors searched Wojahn’s College Park home, collecting several cellphones, a storage device, a tablet and a computer, authoritie­s said. That same day, Wojahn waived his Miranda rights and told investigat­ors that the Kik account was his, police wrote in court papers. Police also said that Wojahn “advised that he has viewed and possessed files depicting child pornograph­y,” according to the charging documents.

Wojahn was charged with 40 misdemeano­r counts of possession of child exploitati­ve material and 16 felony counts of distributi­on of child exploitati­ve material, according to court documents.

“Our job now is to hold him accountabl­e.” Aisha Braveboy (D), state’s attorney for Prince george’s county

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