Since 2015, Patrick Wojahn has served as the Mayor of College Park, Maryland. During his tenure, Wojahn has followed in the footsteps of an archetype forged by his mentor, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. Looking to mirror the former Mayor of South Bend's career trajectory, Wojahn enacted policies similar to those Buttigieg had during his own mayoral tenure. While that blueprint had served him well thus far, everything Wojahn worked toward came crashing down in a fiery descent culminating in his arrest for 56 charges relating to child pornography.
The Prince George's County Police Department was able to arrest the 47-year old thanks to a recognizance effort led by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. According to the NCMEC, Wojahn had been using the messaging app Kik to share dozens of videos depicting sexually explicit acts between prepubescent boys and adult men. The NCMEC flagged Wojahn's account on February 17th, alerting the Prince George's County police of the illicit activities it was engaged in. Following their report, investigators were able to secure a search warrant for Wojahn's College Park home. During the execution of the warrant, Wojahn waived his Miranda Rights, admitting that the Kik account belonged to him and that he had "viewed and possessed files depicting child pornography".
Although Wojahn's home was searched on February 28th, he was not arrested until March 2nd. This allowed him to resign from his post as Mayor of College Park on March 1st. Wojahn's resignation ended a 7-year tenure in his capacity as mayor and a 15-year career in public service to the City of College Park when combined with the eight years he served as a member of its city council. In an official statement released in response to Wojahn's disgraced exit from office, the City of College Park made no mention of the arrest which occurred on the day his resignation took effect. College Park named Denise Mitchel as its Mayor Pro Tem in the interregnum between when a special election will be held within the next 65 days in accordance with the city's charter.
Wojahn faced 56 total counts relating to child pornography. 40 of those counts relate to the possession of child exploitative material. The remaining 16 counts are related to the distribution of those materials. In the resignation letter he tendered to the city, he referenced his cooperation with an on-going police investigation before citing the need to step away from his office to deal with his mental health. Despite the fact that Wojahn is facing up to 360 years in prison for what he's already been arrested for, Prince George's Police Chief Malik Aziz remarked that his police department's investigation into the crimes remained "active and open", alluding to the possibility of even more charges. Aziz made mention of his department's cooperation with federal authorities but noted that there was no indication that the disgraced former mayor was involved in the production of the child pornography he admittedly possessed and distributed.
When the NCMEC reported the Kik account to the police, they conveyed that Wojahn was operating under the username skippy_md. The nickname "Skippy" is one that is rife with undertones of child sex abuse. For one, Skippy was a character in the 2017 Netflix documentary series The Keepers. The seven-episode docu-series chronicled the unsolved murder of Catherine Cesnik, a nun who taught at Baltimore's all-girls Arcbishop Keough High School. Cesnik's former students alleged that authorities covered her murder up because she suspected a priest named A. Joseph Maskell was sexually abusing students. The Catholic priest was eventually removed from the ministry in 1994 after decades of further allegations of abuse which he denied until his death in 2001.
In addition to the pseudonym's association with Farther Maskell, the name Skippy is also the nickname of former White House Chief of Staff and Hillary Clinton's 2016 Presidential Campaign Manager John Podesta. According to Podesta, Skippy was the name he gave to "evil twin" that would emerge during his tenuous tenure as Chief of Staff during the scandal-riddled Clinton Administration. It was Podesta whose emails were leaked in the build-up to the 2016 Presidential Election, culminating in the crafting of the Russiagate narrative against eventual president Donald Trump. Further emails from Podesta's inbox provoked rumors of his involvement in institutionalized child sex abuse which the mainstream media caricatured under the label of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
Following the revelation of how he operated under the same moniker, Wojahn's calamitous demise as Mayor of College Park is in stark juxtaposition to his meteoric ascent into the office. After being elected as College Park's first openly gay mayor, Wojahn cultivated a bond with current Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. The two first met following Wojahn's election in 2015 at the US Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting in Washington DC during Buttigieg's term as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Buttigieg held a similar distinction to Wojahn as South Bend's first openly gay mayor. This parallel between the two was expounded upon by Wojahn in a 2019 interview with The Washington Blade in which he expressed that he held Buttigieg in the regard of his mentor.
"If you notice a pattern across all of my policies, it’s this: The answers don't all have to come from Washington, but more of the resources should. And on my watch, they will, to support American mayors and cities." -- @PeteButtigieg at #MayorsDC20 pic.twitter.com/5XsztSez4F— Patrick Wojahn (@plwojahn) January 23, 2020
In that interview, Wojahn stated “I actually met Mayor Pete Buttigieg shortly after I was elected mayor in 2015...I went to the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Winter Meeting in D.C. in January and he was assigned to be my buddy.” The relationship fostered between the two would continue into 2020 as Buttigieg embarked on his failed presidential campaign before eventually bowing out and being named the Secretary of Transportation of the Biden Administration, which his critics argue is an endeavor that is every bit as much of a failure. Nevertheless, Buttigieg's political ascent would see Wojahn ride his coat tails as much as he possibly could. Wojahn would visit the White House on multiple occasions aided by his connection to Buttigieg, the most recent of which was in December when he and his husband Dave Kolesar attended the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act. The two had previously sued the State of Maryland in 2004 following its ban of same-sex marriages, an action that Wojahn was able to capitalize upon in order to first be elected to the College Park City Council.
At the White House on Tuesday, President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law, and among the many couples who gathered to witness and celebrate the signing was the mayor of College Park, Maryland, and his husband.— WTOP (@WTOP) December 14, 2022
Preceding his friend's arrest, Buttigieg concisely exemplified how well his term as Secretary of Transportation was going last week when he finally arrived in East Palestine, Ohio. In delivering his remarks on the chemical disaster the small town was facing, Buttigieg buckled under pressure during a press conference frustratingly deflating that he "lost his train of thought" when he was being pressed by reporters. Despite the derailment which contaminated the pastoral American heartland with toxic chemicals, Mayor Pete surprised residents by somehow becoming the worst train wreck East Palestine has seen yet. While the demise of his former apprentice Patrick Wojahn has nothing to do with Buttigieg, it is another instance in which aspiring politics that the Democratic Party has made the linchpin of its future have been exposed as superficial figureheads of the party's empty principles, opposed to having any real substance.
The exposure of Wojahn's crimes is an example of how that veneer can mask even the darkest depravities. At a time where the present Democratic establishment is rapidly losing favor with the American public, it has turned its eyes to the 2024 Presidential Election with the motive of moving on from long-standing figures like President Joe Biden. However, if the future potential of those politicians is vested in the likes of Wojahn, it appears that despite the present cloud cast over it, the Democratic Party's darkest days may lay ahead.