City of Fairfax mayor arrested, accused of trading meth for sex

FOX 5's Lindsay Watts reports.

- The mayor for the City of Fairfax has been arrested after he allegedly tried to trade drugs for sex in an undercover sting operation, Fairfax County police said.

Richard “Scott” Silverthorne, 50, was serving his third term as mayor for the city and was re-elected back in May. He was also employed as a substitute teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools.

Investigators said an undercover detective made contact with Silverthorne after being tipped off by an individual to his involvement with illegal drugs.

“Once we determined what website the mayor was on, our undercover detective established a profile,” said Fairfax County Police Capt. Jack Hardin.

After creating a profile on a website used to arrange casual sexual encounters between men, the undercover detective arranged a meeting with Silverthorne. Investigators said it was Silverthorne who reached out to the officer.

Police said Silverthorne agreed to provide methamphetamine to the undercover officer in exchange for group sex.

“It just so happens we were able to observe the mayor meet with the individual we thought would be the supplier,” said Capt. Hardin.

Silverthorne was arrested Thursday night after he met with undercover detectives in a hotel parking lot in Tysons Corner and provided them with the drugs. He faces charges of felony distribution of methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police said they know the mayor exchanged methamphetamine for sex at least once before with someone else.

In addition to Silverthorne, police arrested his alleged suppliers who were with him. Juan Jose Fernandez, 34, and Caustin Lee McLaughlin, 21, face multiple charges including distribution of methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession.

The City of Fairfax has appointed Councilmember Jeffrey Greenfield to serve as acting mayor Friday afternoon. Greenfield issued a statement saying:

"Pursuant to City Charter, the Mayor has appointed me Acting Mayor, until further notice.

"You have received a copy of the city’s statement regarding this issue, which is available on the website, and I have nothing to add.

"The City of Fairfax City Council appreciates Mr. Silverthorne’s longstanding dedication to the community. He has served the City of Fairfax as a Councilmember and Mayor for more than a quarter of a century. The community has benefitted from his dedication and his vision for making Fairfax an excellent place to live and work.

"We will not comment on Mr. Silverthorne’s personal legal matters.

"Thank you."

Fairfax County Public Schools released a statement Friday morning on Silverthorne:

"Mr. Silverthorne worked briefly as a FCPS substitute teacher beginning in April of 2016. He has been terminated from his substitute teaching position."   

People who live on Dunster Court said Silverthorne rented a room at a townhouse on the street up until two weeks ago.

“I understood he had financial issues, but I didn't know anything else about drugs or anything like that,” said former neighbor Scott Frankhauser. “He's a nice guy.”

Silverthorne was released Thursday night on personal recognizance and is scheduled to appear in court on August 10.

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