“It instructs us that child pornography is not simply about images. It’s about the pain behind the images, the tragedies that have occurred in these young people’s lives that should never have happened to them,” Braveboy said. “No child deserves to be sexually abused. No child deserves for their images to be displayed on the internet or any platform for hundreds or thousands or possibly millions of people to view.”
Prince George’s County police said the National Center on Feb. 17 flagged a social media account, “skippy_md,” as having uploaded child pornography to the messaging app Kik in January. With a subpoena, detectives were able to trace the account to Wojahn’s government email address, according to police.
Eleven days after receiving the notification, detectives searched Wojahn’s home, police said. They seized three cellphones, a storage device, a tablet and a computer.
Police also said Wojahn admitted he owned the account during an interview with detectives while his house was being searched.
Assistant State’s Attorney Monica Meyers told reporters at the news conference that investigators found videos and images of the exploitation of more than 500 children on Wojahn’s cellphone alone — more children, she said, than attended the closest elementary school to the former mayor’s home.
Tapping into a network of child abuse investigators from around the world, detectives and prosecutors were able to identify 52 of the children who were exploited, Meyers said, and several victims provided impact statements that prosecutors read aloud in court.
“This is not a victimless crime,” Meyers said. “It impacts these children today and for the rest of their lives.”
Braveboy said Wojahn appeared to have accepted responsibility for his conduct by pleading guilty to all 140 counts.
The judge expressed in court that she believed “his remorse was genuine,” Moyse said.
“He appreciated her recognition of his genuine remorse,” Moyse said. “He’s focused on doing what he can to rehabilitate himself and make this up to the people that love and support him.”
Wojahn, once a popular progressive politician, was first elected to the College Park City Council in 2007. He went on to become mayor in 2015, serving for seven years until resigning abruptly on the eve of his arrest.
He cited the search warrant in his March 2 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,” Wojahn wrote. He said he was stepping down to “deal with my own mental health” and asked the public to keep him and his family in their prayers.
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