- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2016

The former mayor of Fairfax faces criminal charges of trying to exchange methamphetamine for group sex in an undercover police sting operation last week.

Fairfax County Police announced Friday that they had arrested Richard “Scott” Silverthorne, 50, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Tysons Corner, after having received a tip about a meth distributor last month.

Mr. Silverthorne was released on his own recognizance. He is to appear at an Oct. 31 preliminary hearing on a felony charge of drug distribution and a misdemeanor charge of possessing drug paraphernalia.

Fairfax City Councilman Jeff Greenfield has been appointed as acting mayor to replace Mr. Silverthorne, who was serving his third term as mayor when he was arrested Thursday.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Mr. Silverthorne said he hopes the public will wait for the legal process to run its course before judging him.

“I ask that you allow the process to proceed before rushing to judgment (as tough as that may be),” said Mr. Silverthorne, who is also a substitute teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools.

It was not known how long Mr. Greenfield will serve as acting mayor. Mr. Silverthorne was elected in May to his third term as mayor — a position he had held since 2012. He also had served nine terms on the Fairfax City Council, from 1990 through 2008.

Mr. Greenfield would not comment on the charges against the former mayor, and released a statement lauding Mr. Silverthorne’s duty to the Northern Virginia city of 24,000 residents.

“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 acting mayor said.

Fairfax County Police said they received a tip in late July, and an undercover officer created a profile on a website used for arranging casual sexual encounters between men.

“We had information on what the mayor was looking for, what types of activities [he wanted to engage in],” county police Capt. Jack Hardin said at a press conference on Friday.

Within days, Mr. Silverthorne contacted the police officer, police said.

Mr. Silverthorne communicated via text messaging with the undercover officer and allegedly told him that he could provide meth for sexual favors, police said.

Undercover detectives agreed to meet the mayor for group sex in exchange for the drug, and the suspect arranged to bring methamphetamine along with other men, police said.

That led to a meeting Thursday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where Mr. Silverthorne provided meth to the undercover detectives and was arrested and charged with felony distribution, police said.

Police did not identify the website or how long Mr. Silverthorne had been on the site.

“I know he had one other relationship on the website besides us,” Capt. Hardin said.

After arresting Mr. Silverthorne, detectives tracked down his two alleged suppliers.

Juan Jose Fernandez, 34, of Takoma Park, was arrested and charged with felony distribution of methamphetamine, felony possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Caustin Lee McLaughlin, 21, also of Takoma Park, was charged with felony distribution of methamphetamine, felony obstruction of justice and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

During Mr. McLaughlin’s arrest, police said he physically resisted, so they had to deploy a Taser. There were no injuries.

All three were taken to Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where they were processed.

In the past year Mr. Silverthorne has filed for bankruptcy, lost his home to foreclosure and was diagnosed with cancer.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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