FAIRFAX, Va. - Mayor Scott Silverthorne, who was arrested after allegedly trying to trade drugs for sex in an undercover sting operation, has announced his resignation effective this Thursday.
Silverthorne was serving his third term as mayor for the City of Fairfax and was also employed as a substitute teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools before his arrest last week.
Police said they made contact with Silverthorne on a website that arranges casual sexual encounters between men. He was arrested Thursday night after he met with undercover detectives in a hotel parking lot in Tysons Corner and provided them with methamphetamine.
He faces charges of felony distribution of methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released on personal recognizance soon after his arrest.
Silverthorne's attorney said at this point he is "not at liberty to comment" on the case.
FOX 5 reached out to another Fairfax lawyer for legal perspective. Carlos Wall, with The Gordon Law Firm, said there is a chance Silverthorne could avoid time behind bars for the offenses. A key factor is whether it can be argued Silverthorne was just providing the drugs, what is known as an "accommodation," versus taking sex as a form of payment, which would be considered distributing drugs.
"For example, if he just shows up to this party, he's got drugs and he's handing them out and everybody is doing what they're doing, that is an accommodation," Wall said. "And then what you would expect is the punishment would be a lot less than what you would get for distributing drugs. The punishment for distributing a schedule one or schedule two substance, just depending on how it shakes out, could be up to 40 years in prison."
Wall said a judge could still sentence Silverthorne to prison if he was convicted for an accommodation charge, but the maximum sentence is less.
After Silverthorne announced his resignation, Fairfax leaders said they will hold a special meeting Tuesday night to talk about the process of replacing him. Councilmember Jeffrey Greenfield is serving as acting mayor for now.