Mayor arrested, charged in youth camp strip poker scandal
Stockton California mayor, Anthony Ray Silva charged with felony recording of confidential communications, and three misdemeanors involving at least one minor
The mayor of Stockton, California, was arrested on Thursday on a felony eavesdropping charge stemming from a strip poker game he is accused of surreptitiously recording at a summer camp he hosts for disadvantaged inner-city children, prosecutors said.
Mayor Anthony Ray Silva, 41, was also charged with three misdemeanor counts – contributing to the delinquency of a minor, child endangerment and furnishing alcoholic beverages to individuals under the legal drinking age of 21, according to a criminal complaint filed in court.
Silva is accused of using his cellphone to make an audio recording of conversation among several young people, including a 16-year-old boy, who were playing strip poker with the mayor inside his cabin at the camp.
Prosecutors said in a media statement it was evident that the participants, who were naked, were recorded against their will. Amador County District Attorney Todd Riebe said those present besides the mayor included two to three females and three males, all ranging in age from 18 to 20.
The mayor’s attorney, Mark Reichel, called the timing of the arrest “highly suspicious.” He said the charges were politically motivated and timed so the mayor, who is up for re-election, “won’t have enough time to clear his name before the election.”
Silva was elected mayor of Stockton, a city of about 300,000 east of San Francisco, in November 2012, months after the municipality filed for bankruptcy. The city emerged from bankruptcy protection in February 2015.
Silva, who is not married, was arrested by FBI agents Thursday morning at the camp and released on $20,000 bond later in the day.
His next court date is Aug. 18. If convicted of the charges, he could face up to three years in prison.
The author Maya Kamath
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