Amador County

Stockton Mayor Charged With Playing Strip Poker With Minor at His Youth Camp

Mayor Anthony Silva was charged with providing alcohol to a minor, cruelty to a child and more

The mayor of Stockton, California, was arrested Thursday at a youth camp he runs on several charges involving minors, including playing strip poker with one, authorities said.

An FBI investigation led to the discovery of a clip on Anthony Silva's cell phone which allegedly contains audio of a strip poker game that took place in his bedroom and included a 16-year-old at the camp in Amador County in 2015, prosecutors said. Silva is also accused of providing alcohol to the people playing the game, who were underage.

Silva, 42, was charged in Amador County with eavesdropping, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, providing alcohol to a minor and cruelty to a child by endangering health, according to the arrest warrant.

"The audio of the surreptitious recording clearly indicates that the participants did not want to be recorded. Witnesses also informed FBI agents that Silva provided alcohol to the participants, all of whom were underage, including a minor," according to an Amador County District Attorney's Office news release.

Silva was freed on bail and Attorney Mark Reichel, who represents Silva, said he will plead not guilty.

Prosecutors and sheriff's officials did not return calls from The Associated Press seeking further details.

Silva's arrest stems from a yearlong FBI investigation in which his phone was seized and searched, prosecutors said. A video clip on his phone allegedly contained audio of the game, said to have taken place last August in Silva's bedroom at the Stockton Silver Lake Camp, which he runs. One of the alleged participants was 16.

Witnesses told the Amador District Attorney's Office that Silva also made alcohol available to underage counselors at the camp, according to prosecutors.

The Stockton Record reported that allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior and underage drinking in Silva's presence have followed him over a decade, but never were proven.

“The No. 1 way to come and destroy me or hurt me is the sexual type of charges, those types of things," Silva told the Record in 2012. "When you're in the public eye and you're single, people are going to take those shots at you."

Allen Sawyer, another attorney for Silva, told the AP his client will be allowed to return to the summer camp to finish the season.

"He absolutely denies these charges, he's angry and he's going to fight it," Sawyer said. "But his biggest concern right now is not to disrupt the at-risk youth up at the camp."

The charges come as Silva is running for re-election against Stockton Councilman Michael Tubbs.

Before he was charged, the Stockton Police Officers Association endorsed Tubbs, citing his commitment to cooperation with police in establishing good practices, the Record reported.

"They have had all of this evidence for over a year," Silva's attorney told NBC afiiliate KCRA. "Unlimited resources have been spent on this in an effort to find something they can investigate. The timing is extremely suspicious as people will only hear 1/2 of the story before the election. He will clear his name."

Last week, the Record reported that a gun stolen from Silva's home during a burglary was linked to the killing of a 13-year-old boy in Stockton last year.

Reichel said the 42-year-old Silva had nothing to do with the killing and was simply the victim of a crime when his gun was taken.

Silva was elected in Nov. 2012, according to an profile on the Stockton city website. The Stockton native is a single father of an eight-year-old.

He has served on a number of city commissions and boards and according to his bio, "has a passion for helping youth and, as a result, he sits on many local non-profit boards," including the Stockton Silver Lake Camp, Miss San Joaquin and the East Stockton Yellowjackets.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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