The now-former mayor of College Park, Maryland, was arrested on child pornography charges Thursday morning, adding to a long list of mayors accused of preying on young children while exploiting the trust of their communities.
Patrick Wojahn, 47, is charged with 40 counts of possession of child exploitative material and 16 counts of distribution of child exploitative material, according to Prince George’s County Police.
Wojahn, who was elected mayor of College Park in November 2015 after serving as a city council member since 2007, submitted his letter of resignation Wednesday night, city officials said.
“The City of College Park thanks Mayor Wojahn for his many years of dedicated service,” the city said in a press release. “Effective immediately, Mayor Pro Tem Denise Mitchell will serve as presiding officer until a Special Election is held and a new Mayor has been sworn in.”
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In his resignation letter, Wojahn did not confirm nor deny wrongdoing.
“On February 28, 2023, a search warrant was executed on my residence as part of an ongoing police investigation,” he wrote. “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 ofour 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,” he added. “I am stepping away to deal with my own mental health. I ask that you continue to keep me and my family in your prayer.”
Wojahn’s case isn’t an unusual one. At least 12 additional then-current and former mayors have been accused of child sex crimes since 2021, ranging from child pornography to sexual assault.
Phil Briggs, the mayor of Spencerville, Ohio, resigned last month after he was arrested for allegedly secretly recording his girlfriend’s teenage daughters while they undressed.
Ted Tomaszewski, the former mayor of Mansfield Township, New Jersey, was charged in January with sexual assault, luring and child endangerment. He is accused of engaging in multiple sex acts with a 15-year-old in 2022 after leaving office in 2014.
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Matthew McIlravy, the mayor of Pilot Point, Texas, resigned in June 2022 just months after taking office after he was charged with online solicitation of a minor under the age of 14.
James Montgomery, the former mayor of Athens, Georgia, pleaded guilty in August 2022 to sending obscene material to a minor when he was mayor in 2020. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
Kevin Hohn, the former mayor of Brooksville, Florida, was charged in February 2021 with producing child pornography. He was sentenced one year later to 15 years in federal prison.
Donald McLeod, the former mayor of Severance, Colorado, was sentenced in December to serve three years of supervised probation after pleading guilty to the promotion of obscenity to a minor. He was accused of meeting up with a 17-year-old boy for sex in April 2021.
Carl Johnson, the former mayor of West Bountiful, Utah, and a former bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was charged in September 2022 with sexually abusing three girls under the age of 13. He pleaded not guilty to seven counts of aggravated abuse of a child.
Donald McKinney, the former mayor pro tem of Pickens, South Carolina, was charged in October 2022 with second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. He was accused of groping and performing oral sex on a victim between 14 and 16 years old while he was still mayor pro tem.
Scott Saunders Jr., the former mayor of Smithville, Texas, was arrested twice in 2021 on a total of five charges, including sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child. The arrests came four months after Saunders resigned as mayor, saying he wanted to focus on his family and mental health, KXAN reported.
Dennis Doyle, the former mayor of Beaverton, Oregon, was sentenced in January to six months in prison for downloading child pornography on his home computer while he was still mayor.
Robert Jacob, the former mayor of Sebastapol, California, was arrested in April 2021 on suspicion of sexually assaulting a minor. In January, he pleaded no contest to include contacting the victim with the intent to commit a specific offense, arranging to meet the victim to engage in lewd and lascivious acts and committing acts of sexual abuse against a victim under age 15. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 23.
Walter Hill, the former mayor of Mosses, Alabama, was charged with first-degree rape in November 2021. He had previously served prison time after pleading guilty in 2017 to a charge of using his office for personal gain.
A previous analysis by Fox News Digital found that at least nine religious leaders were arrested in the U.S. in January for alleged sex crimes against children, ranging from grooming to child porn to rape.
An earlier Fox News Digital analysis found that at least 349 public school educators were arrested on child sex-related crimes spanning nearly every state in the country last year, averaging to almost an arrest every day on crimes ranging from grooming to child porn to raping students.
At least 262 of the arrests, or 75%, involved alleged crimes against students, the report found.