The former Democrat Mayor of College Park, Maryland, Patrick Wojahn, has been handed a 30-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to charges related to the possession and distribution of child sexual abuse material.
Shocking Arrest and Charges
Earlier this year, Wojahn was arrested by the Prince George’s County police department after they discovered he was operating a social media account distributing pornography. The City of College Park expressed their shock and disturbance at the news, stating that the investigation's findings were a total surprise to them.
Connections to High-Profile Democrats
Before his arrest, Wojahn had friendships with high-profile Democrats such as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg had mentored Wojahn over the years, and reports indicate they even went out for beers together in Maryland. Wojahn also had a picture taken with Nancy Pelosi, Lady Gaga, and the Dalai Lama.
Investigation and Arrest
The Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) received a tip-off from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about a social media account distributing suspected child pornography. After conducting investigations, the police discovered that the account belonged to Wojahn. A search warrant was served at Wojahn's home, and investigators recovered multiple devices. He was taken into custody following additional investigation.
Resignation and Guilty Plea
Wojahn filed for his resignation following his arrest, stating that he did not want to serve as a distraction to the community. On August 2, Wojahn pleaded guilty to a total of 140 counts, including distribution, possession, and intent to distribute child pornography.
Light Sentence Sparks Controversy
Despite the severity of the crimes, Wojahn received a relatively light sentence of 30 years in prison. The court suspended 120 years of his sentence, meaning he will only serve 30 years plus five years' probation. He will also have to register as a sex offender for 25 years. Some believe that the sentence is too lenient considering the number of victims involved.
The Impact of Wojahn's Crimes
The Assistant State's Attorneys described the possession and distribution of child sexual abuse material as not a victimless crime. They revealed that law enforcement knew the names of 52 children who appeared in images on Wojahn's cellphone, but there were potentially hundreds or thousands more victims that investigators could not identify. The abuse spanned across multiple countries, and the victims ranged from infants to older children. The State's Attorney described the sentence as fair.
According to Maryland's parole laws, Wojahn could potentially secure an early release after serving a quarter of his sentence, which would be approximately seven and a half years.
The court hearing included statements from victims and their parents, detailing the abuse depicted in the photos and videos found in Wojahn's possession. One victim spoke on video, revealing that she was stalked and harassed online for years after the abuse and had to relocate. Over 500 victims from around the world were found on Wojahn's phone.
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