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College Park mayor arrested on child pornography charges

LGBTQ community stunned as Wojahn taken into custody

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College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn (Photo courtesy of the Prince George's County Police Department)

Prince George’s County, Md., police announced on Thursday morning that they have arrested the gay mayor of the City of College Park, Patrick Wojahn, 47, on 56 counts of possession and distribution of child pornography.

“On February 28, 2023, PGPD detectives served a search warrant at Wojahn’s College Park Home,” a statement released by PG police says. “Investigators recovered multiple cell phones, a storage device, a tablet and a computer,” the statement says. “Following additional investigation, PGPD obtained criminal charges against Wojahn and investigators took him into custody early this morning.”

The statement says Wojahn was in the custody of the county’s Department of Corrections and the matter remains an open and active investigation.

“Last night, after business hours, Mayor Patrick L. Wojahn submitted his letter of resignation as Mayor of the City of College Park, effective immediately on March 2,” the city announced Thursday morning in a statement. “Mayor Wojahn has served in this position since 2015 and on the Council since 2007. The City of College Park thanks Mayor Wojahn for his many years of dedicated service,” the statement says.

College Park officials released the full text of the Wojahn resignation letter.

“On February 28, 2023, a search warrant was executed on my residence as part of an ongoing police investigation,” Wojahn states in his letter. “I have cooperated fully, and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement,” he wrote.

“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,” his letter continues. 

“Many of you have already reached out with well wishes and thoughts, and I am eternally grateful,” he said. “I am stepping away to deal with my own mental health. I ask that you continue to keep me and my family in your prayers.”

The PG County police statement says their investigation into Wojahn’s alleged illegal actions began with a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children informing police that it learned of a social media account operating in P.G. County that possessed and distributed suspected child pornography.

“The images and videos had been uploaded to the social media account in January of 2023,” the PG County police statement says. “Through various investigative techniques, PGPD investigators discovered the social media account belonged to Wojahn,” it says.

“Wojahn is charged with 40 counts of possession of child exploitative material and 16 counts of distribution of child exploitative material,” the statement continues, adding that Wojahn as of Thursday was in the custody of the Department of Corrections.

The statement concludes by saying the investigation remains open and active and members of the public are asked to provide information about the case to PG police detectives at 301-772-4930,

Longtime D.C. gay activist Robert Dardano, who has been friends with Wojahn for many years, expressed a sentiment that appears to be shared by many in the LGBTQ community locally and nationally who know Wojahn.

“I am totally stunned and am literally shaking,” Dardano told the Washington Blade in an email on Thursday. “This news seems too unbelievable; it has come as a thunderclap,” he said.

“I have known Patrick for decades. He has not only been such a wonderful and dedicated public servant but has always been a kind and caring individual,” Dardano said. “I was always proud to call him my friend and I hope that he can deal with whatever mental health issues he may have.” 

Wojahn couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. His attorney, David H. Moyse, said it is too early in the case for him to make a formal comment. 

“I will tell you how I responded to someone just a moment ago,” Moyse told the Blade. “Patrick resigned his position yesterday and has been cooperating fully with law enforcement throughout this process and will continue to do so.” 

A court hearing originally scheduled for Friday afternoon, March 3, to determine whether Wojahn could be released from custody while the case continues in court was postponed until Monday morning, March 6, resulting in him remaining in jail until at least Monday.

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Maryland

Are Md. prisons out of bounds with federal requirements for trans prisoners?

Department of Correctional Services says transgender prisoners ‘housed according to physical genitalia’

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BY BEN CONARCK | Nearly a year after formerly incarcerated transgender people testified to Maryland lawmakers about the troubling conditions they faced in state prisons and Baltimore jails, the agency in charge of their care continues to violate federal standards in how it houses trans prisoners, according to a coalition of trans rights advocates.

The Trans Rights Advocacy Coalition, bolstered by policy experts and attorneys, contends that while the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has made some strides towards improving conditions, its policy of housing trans prisoners “according to physical genitalia” violates the federal standard that those individuals should be housed on a case-by-case basis determined by health and safety and any security problems, among other factors. The group laid out its argument in a 15-page memo presented to the department and lawmakers this week.

The rest of this article can be read on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Maryland

Baltimore County police arrest suspect in rape of transgender woman

Jalen Green allegedly target victim through dating app

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Baltimore County police announced Feb. 15 they had arrested and charged a 22-year-old man with first-degree rape, first-degree assault, armed robbery and firearm-related charges in addition to other offenses.

According to a statement released by police, Jalen Green was arrested in connection with a sexual assault that occurred in the 3000 block of Putty Hill Avenue in Parkville on Feb. 11 at approximately 3:30 p.m. 

Investigators say Green targeted a member of the transgender community through a dating app.

WBAL reported

According to the charging documents, the victim told officers that Green contacted her for sex in exchange for money. The victim told officers that Green pointed the gun at her and demanded money, the documents state.

Not having any cash, the victim said Green used her phone to send himself $100 in the Cash App and then stole two prescription bottles from the victim. According to police, Green then sexually assaulted the victim at gunpoint and recorded video on his cellphone.

The charging documents state that investigators recovered evidence from the scene, including DNA. A search warrant was being sought to recover potential evidence on Green’s cellphone, the documents state.

Investigators seek to hear from anyone who may have been in contact with Green.

The Baltimore County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is seeking information from anyone who may have been in contact with this subject. Detectives can be contacted at (410) 887-2223. 

If you are a survivor of a sexual assault, you can contact the Sexual Assault Hotline for crisis counseling by calling (410) 828-6390. The Special Victims Unit also works with TurnAround who can be contacted by calling (410) 377-8111.

Green is being held without bond at the Baltimore County Detention Center.

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Maryland

Trial date set for man accused of killing transgender woman in Bel Air

Judge expected to hear case on May 21

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Signs honoring the 'sparkle' of Meghan Lewis are held during a memorial in Bel Air on Jan. 2, 2024. (Photo by Heather Diehl/Baltimore Banner)

BY CLARA LONGO DE FREITAS | A Harford County judge on Wednesday late afternoon set a jury trial for 47-year-old man charged in the fatal shooting of a transgender woman who was killed two days after Christmas.

Judge Yolanda Curtin is expected to hear the case on May 21.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner website.

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