A California Republican mayor known for playing up his relationship with God is being accused of providing alcohol to and playing strip poker with a group of youth—including a 16-year-old—in his bedroom at the Mayor’s Youth Camp, KCRA reports.
Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva, who Joe.My.God. notes has held town hall meetings in an anti-gay megachurch and gave God a ceremonial key to the city, was arrested Thursday at a city-run camp for disadvantaged youth on charges including eavesdropping or recording confidential communications, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, providing alcohol to a minor, and cruelty to a child by endangering health.
The accusations sparked from an FBI investigation that began in 2015 after federal agents seized Silva’s phone and laptop following a trip to China. One video clip found on his phone appears to include a game of strip poker with Silva and camp counselors, according to the DA.
“That clip contains audio of a conversation between participants involved in a strip poker game that occurred in Silva’s bedroom,” a news release from the district attorney explains, noting that the phone appeared to have been set down, and only audio was captured. “The conversation between the participants indicated that they were naked. One of the participants was a 16-year-old male.”
According to the Sacramento Bee, all the participants in the strip poker game aside from Silva were teenagers—a 16-year-old boy, an 18-year-old woman, a 19-year-old woman and two 19-year-old men—and according to one witness, “all of the participants in the strip poker game at some point were naked.”
In addition to that video, investigators also found photos from camp on Silva’s phone, including ones that appeared to show minors playing beer pong.
“Mayor Silva allowed and encouraged persons under 21 years of age (including a 16-year-old) to consume alcohol for the purpose of getting intoxicated so he … could involve, and participate with, such persons in sexually suggestive behavior such as strip poker where such activities could be videotaped,” criminal investigator Terrance Brass wrote in a court document.
This isn’t the first accusation of sexually inappropriate behavior the mayor has faced. According to the Sacramento Bee, 2005 police report alleges that Silva, who previously coached water polo, secretly taped girls in his bathroom and changing at his home. In 2011, a former female employee of Silva’s alleged that her pressured her to drink alcohol and touched her buttocks.
Before becoming mayor in 2013, Silva served as executive director for the Stockton Boys and Girls Club for eight years.
An attorney for the mayor questioned the timing of the accusations.
“It is an obvious attempt to influence an election,” Mark Reichel told the Sacramento Bee. “It will take some effort for the mayor to clear his good name before the election, and the voters might have only heard one side of the story by election time. He will clear his good name, and then we will seek whatever redress we can to restore his reputation.”