Criminals at all levels like to think that they are smarter than anyone investigating them, and technology today can give criminals a false sense of protection against prosecution. Depending on personal smarts and technology can be the downfall of any criminal.
The good news for society at large is that criminals almost always leave a trail of evidence. This is true particularly with those that don’t understand how cyber trails work. Hiding behind technology is often like children thinking no one can see them by covering their eyes with their hands.
Politicians tend to think like children at times, and when you combine political power trips with criminal intent things can get ugly. Heinous crimes against children were recently exposed when the former mayor of College Park, Maryland, was arrested in March on charges of child pornography.
Patrick Wojahn, a well-known LGBTQ activist and friend of key people in the Joe Biden administration, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Monday. Wojahn pleaded guilty to 140 charges related to child pornography as part of a deal struck with prosecutors, according to Fox News. He was sentenced to 150 years total, with all but 30 years suspended. The former Democrat mayor, who resigned in March, will be eligible for parole in 7.5 years under state lawed.
Wojahn, 47, was convicted after investigators linked an online account sharing illicit images to his government email address. Fox News reported that authorities said the 48-year-old uploaded and shared dozens of photos and videos depicting explicit child sex abuse, including the rape of prepubescent boys by adults, to social media apps in January.
Investigators uncovered a social media account with the screen name “skippy_md” belonging to Wojahn. They connected Wojahn’s College Park government email address, according to Fox News, as the recovery email for the Kik account. Wojahn’s phone number and home IP address were linked to the account, according to authorities. They said the ex-mayor used a virtual private network to hide his location at times of accessing the account.
Charges against Wojahn were substantial. He pleaded guilty in August to 60 counts of distribution of child pornography, 40 of possession of child pornography and 40 of possessing child pornography with the intent to distribute.
The effects of his actions rippled across a field of victims. Law enforcement identified 52 child victims, some of whom are now adults, who were depicted in the hundreds of photos and videos Wojahn possessed and shared. Investigators collaborated with the Justice Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Victim impact statements read in court, according to Fox News, detailed how victims struggled with extreme anxiety, paranoia, poor sleep, trust issues and a sense of safety. Some victims reported that they have been stalked as adults and forced to move their families and children of their own after being exposed as victims of online child exploitation.
Wojahn was in his seventh year and in his second term as mayor of College Park after getting elected to the office in 2015, according to Breitbart. He previously served eight years as a city councilman. Wojahn, originally from Wisconsin, graduated from Georgetown University Law Center and has worked in legal advocacy and government relations, Breitbart reported.
Wojahn, who joined a lawsuit with his now-husband against the state of Maryland in 2006 to make marriage a right for same-sex couples in the state. Breitbart reported that he is also a onetime regular White House guest and “mentee” of Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden’s appointed Secretary of Transportation.
- Heinous crimes were uncovered and connected to a former city mayor.
- Mayor’s conviction for crimes against children sends him to prison.
- The well-known LGBTQ activist pleaded guilty to more than 100 charges.