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Maryland mayor resigns after he's arrested on 56 counts of child pornography, officials say

Patrick Wojahn, 47, the mayor of College Park since 2015, said in a resignation letter: "I am stepping away to deal with my own mental health."

The mayor of College Park, Maryland, was arrested on dozens of counts of child pornography Thursday and resigned, authorities said.

Patrick Wojahn, 47, was charged with 56 counts of child pornography: 40 counts of possession of child exploitative material and 16 counts of distribution of child exploitative material, Prince George’s County police said in a statement.

A statement on the city’s website said Wojahn’s resignation was effective Thursday.

“Last night, after business hours, Mayor Patrick L. Wojahn submitted his letter of resignation as Mayor of the City of College Park, effective immediately on March 2. Mayor Wojahn has served in this position since 2015 and on Council since 2007. The City of College Park thanks Mayor Wojahn for his many years of dedicated service,” the statement said.

“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. Per the City Charter, a Special Election must be held within 65 days.”

In his resignation letter, also posted on the city’s website, Wojahn wrote that it has been a “profound honor and privilege” to serve the city.

“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,” he said. “Many of you have already reached out with well wishes and thoughts, and I am eternally grateful. I am stepping away to deal with my own mental health. I ask that you continue to keep me and my family in your prayers.”

Wojahn could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday. It was unclear whether he was in jail.

College Park has about 35,000 residents, according to the most recent census data.

The criminal investigation began Feb. 17, when the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children alerted local police that a social media account operating in Prince George’s County possessed and distributed child pornography, police said.

“The image and videos had been uploaded to the social media account in January of 2023. Through various investigative techniques, PGPD investigators discovered the social media account belonged to Wojahn,” police said.

Investigators recovered multiple cellphones, a storage device, a tablet and a computer when they searched Wojahn’s home with a warrant Tuesday, police said.

Wojahn was arrested early Thursday, police said.

Wojahn made history in College Park by becoming the city's first openly gay man to become mayor, NBC Washington reported in November 2015.