Lauren C. Moye, FISM News
An openly gay Maryland mayor who is a self-professed Pete Buttigieg mentee was arrested on Thursday with 56 charges involving child pornography.
Local authorities announced the arrest of Patrick Wojhan, the Democrat mayor of College Park, after investigating a social media account that was allegedly distributing child pornography.
“On February 17, 2023, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children notified the PGPD that a social media account operating in the county possessed and distributed suspected child pornography. The image and videos had been uploaded to the social media account in January of 2023,” the Prince George’s County Police Department said.
Eleven days later, detectives served a search warrant on the 47-year-old’s home. They recovered multiple cell phones, a storage device, a tablet, and a computer.
After investigating the contents of the devices, authorities charged Wojhan with 40 counts of possession of child exploitative material and 16 counts of distributing material.
Wojhan resigned on Wednesday night ahead of his arrest announcement.
“I have cooperated fully, and will continue to cooperate, with law enforcement,” Wojhan wrote in this resignation letter.
“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.”
Wojhan had served as the College Park mayor since 2015. Before that, he served on the city council for an additional eight years.
The council appointed Denise Mitchell as mayor pro tem until a special election can be held within 65 days to replace Wojhan.
WOJHAN’S TIES TO PETE BUTTIGIEG
Wojhan has claimed to be a mentee of U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. While the former College Park mayor claims the first distinction as the first openly gay man to hold that title for the city, Buttigieg was praised for being the first openly gay transportation secretary.
Wojhan and Buttigieg have met multiple times, beginning with the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Winter Meeting in January 2015. At the time, Buttigieg was mayor of South Bend, Indiana. The pair were assigned to be event buddies.
In an interview with the Washington Blade in November 2019, Wojhan said he continued to speak with Buttigieg for advice regularly after this point.
Since President Joe Biden took office, Wojhan has visited the White House on six different occasions. The first of these was on June 25, 2021, for a pride event.
Afterward, Wojhan posted an image alongside Buttigieg and Buttigieg’s husband with the caption, “Always great to see these guys at the White House.”
A Department of Transportation spokesperson told Yahoo News that the arrest was “extremely disturbing.”
“The Secretary did not know the former Mayor well, but did meet him a number of times through participation in U.S. Conference of Mayors programming, conferences, and political events,” the spokesperson added.
Wojhan also visited the White House on June 15, 2022, for a “Pride Month Reception” and for the Sept. 12, 2022, celebration of the Inflation Reduction Act. Three more visits are recorded between December 2022 and January 2023.