A former mayor of College Park, Md., pleaded guilty on Wednesday to possessing and distributing child sexual abuse imagery under a plea deal in which he agreed to serve 30 years in prison, prosecutors said.
Under the agreement, the former mayor, Patrick Wojahn, 47, who was arrested in March, pleaded guilty in Prince George’s County Circuit Court to 60 counts of distribution of the sexual abuse imagery, 40 counts of possession and 40 counts of possession with intent to distribute.
As part of the plea deal, Mr. Wojahn agreed to serve 30 years of a 150-year prison sentence, with the remainder suspended, according to the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office. He will become eligible to apply for parole after seven and a half years. A judge will sentence him on Nov. 20.
After his release, Mr. Wojahn must register as a sex offender for 25 years and serve five years of probation, said Jessica Garth, an assistant state’s attorney.
“This is a horrific case,” Aisha Braveboy, the Prince George’s County state’s attorney, said in a news release. “The College Park community put its faith and support in him to serve each resident and their best interests. Instead, he let them down in the most disgraceful way.”
Mr. Wojahn’s lawyer, David Moyse, did not comment on the guilty plea.
The investigation into Mr. Wojahn began in February when the police received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that an account on the social media app Kik operating within Prince George’s County had possessed and transmitted images of child sexual abuse.
Investigators determined that the account belonged to Mr. Wojahn, and that he had uploaded such imagery in January. The police then raided his home, seizing phones, a storage device, a tablet and a computer.
The night before his arrest, Mr. Wojahn, who had been mayor of College Park since 2015 and served for eight years on its City Council before then, submitted a letter of resignation.
“I am stepping away to deal with my own mental health,” Mr. Wojahn wrote. “I ask that you continue to keep me and my family in your prayers.”
The charges against Mr. Wojahn came as a shock to College Park, a city of roughly 34,000 people and home to the University of Maryland.
“There was never anything that would lead to me believe that something like this would happen,” Andrew Fellows, Mr. Wojahn’s mayoral predecessor, told The New York Times in March.
Mr. Wojahn had been praised for his leadership during the coronavirus pandemic and his support of progressive causes, Mr. Fellows said, including advocating for same-sex marriage in the state and supporting a formal apology from the city in 2020 for its history of oppression in a Black neighborhood.