Mayor Anthony Silva of Stockton, California, was arrested on Thursday at his youth camp at Silver Lake in Amador County for criminal charges involving male teenage campers who were playing strip poker under his supervision.
According to court records, the 41-year-old is facing the charges of eavesdropping/recording of confidential communications, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, providing alcohol to a minor, and cruelty to a child by endangering health, reports KCRA.
The arrest proceeded from a FBI investigation which happened in September 2015, where Silva’s cell phone was seized by Homeland Security investigators upon his arrival from China at the San Francisco International Airport.
Pictures and video clips that are believed to have been recorded during a youth camp held at the Stockton Silver Lake Camp 5-9 August 2015 were uncovered from Silva’s phone, and one of the clips contained audio of people playing a strip poker game in Silva’s bedroom at the camp.
According to the Amador County district attorney, the audio revealed that the naked poker game participants, one of whom was 16 years old, did not want to be recorded.
There is no video on the clip as the phone had been set down, the district attorney said. However, there were witnesses who said that Silva had supplied alcohol to several underage counselors at the camp.
Silva had reportedly posted his $20,000 bail Thursday afternoon. He had also gone back to the city-run camp to pack his belongings before leaving.
The city of Stockton has since released a statement saying that Silva was ‘relieved from the camp and effective adult supervision is in place.’
It added: ‘Law enforcement is on the scene and the children are in no immediate danger.’
Parents were notified of the arrest and arrangements were made for those who wanted to pick up their children or have them transported back to Stockton.
A concerned mother Sophia Martinez told KCRA that she went to pick up her 8-year-old son from the camp as soon as she could. ‘Right away I panicked, like, “I’m going to go get my son,”‘ she said.
According to reports, there were nearly a hundred kids at the summer camp.
‘That’s every parent’s fear — to have something like that happen. And you just never know, you don’t know who to trust,’ Martinez added.
Silva’s attorney Allen Sawyer said, ‘He absolutely maintains his innocence, and he’s looking forward to his day in court and he absolutely believes he will be vindicated.’
At a press conference, Silva insisted that he is innocent and that he will not resign or stop running for a reelection.
Silva is currently facing other legal woes related to a gun stolen from his house which was later used in several crimes in Stockton, one of which involved the death of 13-year-old Rayshawn Harris in 2015.
Silva is described by LGBT activist Will Kohler as ‘a family values anti-gay GOP politician’ known to hold official town hall meetings at an anti-gay megachurch and had once presented ‘the key to the city of Stockton to God.’
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