Anthony Silva, an ardently anti-LGBT Republican mayor from Stockton, California, was arrested on Thursday morning on charges related to the exploitation and endangerment of at least one minor male. The incident allegedly took place at his Stockton youth camp, a facility designed to give at-risk inner city youth a safe place to spend part of their summer. According to court documents and other public records, the charges stemmed from a game of strip poker that the anti-LGBT Republican mayor played with the unnamed youth.
The Republican mayor was reportedly arrested at the very youth camp where the abuse allegedly took place, in full view of all in attendance.
LGBTQ Nation reports that Mayor Silva has a history of supporting anti-LGBT initiatives, once gave “God” a key to the city of Stockton, and has even held city counsel meetings in an anti-gay megachurch during his tenure.
The anti-LGBT Republican mayor, 41 years old, is facing charges of 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. According to legal documents, the incidents took place at the Stockton Silver Lake Camp between August 5 and August 9 of 2015.
According to a Patheos report, the anti-LGBT Republican mayor’s legal troubles got their start during an FBI investigation that took place towards the end of 2015. In September 2015, Anthony Silva had his cell phone confiscated by federal agents immediately upon landing at San Francisco International Airport; the anti-LGBT mayor was returning back to the U.S. from a China trip.
After the phone was confiscated, federal agents reportedly found at least one file that contained an audio recording of multiple individuals being covertly recorded while they played strip poker with the anti-LGBT Republican mayor in his bedroom at camp. According to a local prosecutor, one of the people involved in the adult-themed game of chance was a 16-year-old child. Reportedly, others in attendance at the illicit poker game admitted to investigators that everyone who played ended up naked at one time or another, reports the Sacramento Bee.
Prosecutors in the case against the anti-LGBT mayor say that the file clearly indicates that none of the other players in the strip poker game consented to being recorded. The Amador County district attorney also alleges that the anti-LGBT mayor also provided minor (and/or under legal age) camp counselors with alcohol during the same time period.
“We’re hearing that there was multiple adults present, that there was only one minor present.”
So far, law enforcement has declined to comment regarding why it took them a year to arrest the mayor, particularly given his continued participation in the youth camps and interaction with minors.
Anthony Silva spent only a few hours locked up following his arrest. The anti-LGBT Republican mayor posted the requisite $20,000 bail later on Thursday, then reportedly went back to the camp from where he had been arrested, grabbed his things, and immediately left.
The camp, which is run and supervised by the City of Stockton, is still operational. The anti-LGBT Republican mayor was released from his camp supervision duties and replaced by another adult. Around the time of Silva’s arrest, parents of children attending the youth camp got a recorded call notifying them of the mayor’s arrest. Camp staff also reportedly spoke to concerned parents directly, telling them that they could come pick up their children if they chose or that the city would make arrangements to get kids home if their parent’s preferred.
The anti-LGBT Republican mayor’s legal counsel is alleging that the charges against his client are politically motivated. According to Mark Reichel, the government has had “evidence” against his client for a year, and yet they chose to time his arrest to coincide with his reelection bid.
“They have had all of this evidence for over a year. 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.”
This isn’t the first time that the anti-LGBT Republican mayor of Stockton has made the news in recent weeks. On July 29, it was reported by local media that a gun stolen from the mayor’s home has been linked to multiple crimes in the local area. As KCRA News reports, Rayshawn Harris, a 13-year-old, was murdered in 2015 with the Republican mayor’s stolen gun.
“He absolutely maintains his innocence, and he’s looking forward to his day in court and he absolutely believes he will be vindicated.”
Anthony Silva has a history of interacting with local youth. Reportedly, the anti-LGBT Republican mayor worked with the Stockton Boys and Girls Club for eight years prior to being elected in 2013.
[Photo via Amador County Sheriff’s Office]