Former city of Fairfax Mayor Richard Scott Silverthorne, who was arrested last August while arranging to trade methamphetamine for sex at a Tysons hotel, pleaded guilty in Fairfax County Circuit Court March 13 to one felony count of distributing methamphetamine.
Silverthorne will be sentenced June 9. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. Under the plea agreement, the prosecution agreed to drop a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Dressed in a gray suit, white shirt and blue tie, Silverthorne told Judge Grace Burke Carroll he had entered the plea agreement freely and voluntarily. The judge had Silverthorne confirm knowledge that by pleading guilty to the felony charge, he would lose his right to vote and own or possess a firearm or any type of concealed weapon.
Because parole has been abolished in Virginia, the defendant would have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence, the judge said.
Fairfax County police arrested Silverthorne and two Maryland men Aug. 4 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Tysons after Silverthorne told an undercover detective he could provide methamphetamine for sexual encounters.
Silverthorne, 51, first came to the attention of Fairfax County police detectives last July, said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kathleen Bilton. A detective contacted the defendant via the Web site Bareback Real Time, where Silverthorne’s profile name was “Another Fun D.C. Bottom,” Bilton said.
Silverthorne asked the detective what sexual practices he was “into” and whether he had any supply of drugs. The defendant then arranged for a group-sex session, Bilton said.
Detectives agreed to pay Silverthorne $200 for the drug and arrested him after he pulled out a container that had suspected crystal meth, Bilton said.
Silverthorne later told investigators he had used methamphetamine in the past and planned to smoke or take it intravenously at the rendezvous in Tysons, Bilton said.
Queried by a detective about the significance of a “Schedule 1” narcotic, Silverthorne said, “You know what it is. It’s not good,” the prosecutor said.
Silverthorne told the judge he was working in the hardware business. His lawyer, Brian Drummond, said the case marked Silverthorne’s first brush with the law and that he was gainfully employed and posed no risk of flight or danger to the community.
But Judge Carroll, saying the court had to take into account the severity of the offense committed, revoked Silverthorne’s bond and remanded him to the custody of the Sheriff’s Office.
A brown-uniformed bailiff immediately walked over to the defendant, handcuffed him and led him out a side door of the courtroom. Seeing this, a woman seated in the gallery said, “Oh, my God!”
Drummond said afterward he also had not expected Silverthorne to be taken into custody immediately.
“I’m extremely surprised that [the judge] would incarcerate him today,” he said. “I’m going to be honest with you. I didn’t see this coming.”
Silverthorne, a former Fairfax City Council member who had been elected May 3 to his third term as mayor, resigned from that post following his arrest. The City Council subsequently appointed Steven Stombres to serve as acting mayor and in a Feb. 7 special election, city voters elected Council member David Meyer as mayor.