A Fairfax County Circuit Court judge startled onlookers on Monday when she ordered the gay former mayor of Fairfax City, R. Scott Silverthorne, held in jail while he awaits sentencing in June after he pled guilty to one count of distributing methamphetamine.
Silverthorne was arrested last August in a police sting operation after he provided methamphetamine to an undercover detective posing as a willing sex partner in exchange for what he thought would be permission to participate in an orgy with other men at a hotel in Tysons Corner, Va.
Police said they targeted Silverthorne for the sting after learning through sources that he was allegedly distributing meth through a gay sex hook-up website in exchange for sexual encounters. The Washington Post reported that a prosecutor identified the site in court on Monday as Bare Back Real Time.
Circuit Court Judge Grace Burke Carroll scheduled a sentencing hearing for Silverthorne on June 9. But instead of allowing him to remain free on his own recognizance while awaiting sentencing, as he has since the time of his arrest, she ordered him held in custody immediately.
Less than a week after his arrest in August Silverthorne announced his resignation as mayor. He had been elected to a third term as mayor three months before his arrest. He served nine terms on the Fairfax City Council, from 1990 to 2008, before winning election as mayor.
His arrest shocked colleagues in the city government and many of his constituents, who have praised him as a dedicated public official credited with bringing about positive change in Fairfax City.
LGBT activists in Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County, said they were not aware that Silverthorne was gay and that he had not been involved with LGBT advocacy groups during his tenure in public office.
Silverthorne’s attorney, Brian Drummond, told the Washington Blade in August that nearly all of Silverthorne’s colleagues on the Fairfax City Council and others who knew him in Fairfax political circles knew he is gay.
“It was the worst kept secret in Fairfax,” Drummond said. “He had actually come out some years ago” but didn’t make a “great announcement.”
Drummond couldn’t immediately be reach this week to determine if he thought the judge might have sent him to jail prior to sentencing because of a bias against him based on his sexual orientation.