Mayor arrested, charged in youth camp strip poker scandal

Mayor Anthony Ray Silva of Stockton, California © Amador County Sheriff's Office
The mayor of Stockton, California, was arrested and charged with providing alcohol to minors and eavesdropping on them at a summer camp for underprivileged children he ran. Authorities said the criminal acts took place during a game of strip poker.

Mayor Anthony Silva is alleged to have used his cellphone to make an audio recording of the conversation between several young people, who were participating in the poker game with him inside his cabin at the camp last August, according to Reuters.

Silva was charged in the criminal complaint with three misdemeanor counts: contributing to the delinquency of a minor, child endangerment, and providing alcohol to a minor.

Prosecutors said that the taped conversation indicated that the participants, who were naked, were recorded against their will. With the mayor in the cabin were two to three females and three males, all ranging in age from 18 to 20, some of whom were camp counselors.

The incident is alleged to have taken place at the Stockton Silver Lake Camp, Stockton, where the mayor hosts an annual camp for 75 underprivileged children ranging from 5 to 17 years in age.

Serving his second term, Silva became mayor of Stockton in 2012, just months after the city of 300,000 residents filed for bankruptcy. The city emerged from bankruptcy protection in February 2015.

Reuters reported that Silva, in his official biography, “served as president of the Boys & Girls Club of Stockton for the past six years.”

One of the mayor’s attorneys, Allen Sawyer, told the Associated Press that his client would be allowed to return to the summer camp to finish the season.

"He's [sic] 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.”

Silva, who is not married, pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was freed on a bond of $20,000. He is due back in court on August 18. If convicted of all charges, he could face up to three years in prison.