The former mayor of the City of Fairfax, Virginia, has pleaded guilty to the distribution of methamphetamine after police say he arranged to exchange sex for drugs.
R. Scott Silverthorne pleaded guilty Monday morning. Shocking Silverthorne's family and friends, a judge ordered that the former mayor be held in jail. He had been free since his initial arrest in August.
The judge asked Silverthorne if he was pleading guilty because he was indeed guilty.
"I am, your honor," he replied.
Silverthorne was handcuffed in the courtroom and taken to the Adult Detention Center next door. He will wait there until he is sentenced June 9.
The former mayor's sister-in-law and niece said they were shocked he was jailed.
"I didn't even get to say goodbye to him," niece Katie Hayes said, choking up.
Silverthorne's lawyer, Brian Drummond, said last month that the former mayor would enter a plea. He said then that they were trying to decide what that plea would be.
Silverthorne was arrested by Fairfax County police on Aug. 4 after a sting at a hotel in Tysons Corner. Police said they set up the sting after receiving a tip that Silverthorne was using a dating website to set up sexual encounters with men in exchange for drugs.
Police say Silverthorne gave an undercover detective two grams of methamphetamine outside the hotel before his arrest.
Silverthorne, a three-term mayor, resigned after his arrest.
For the past few months, he worked at a hardware store in Bethesda. His coworkers attended his court appearance Monday and spoke in support of him.
"He made a mistake. He's only human. He went through rehab. He's trying to get his life together, and for something like this to happen is just nonsense for what I consider a minor drug offense for a first-time offender," Chris Minich said.
Silverthorne's sister-in-law, Mary Silverthorne, argued that he wasn't treated fairly in court.
"I think if he wasn't a public figure, this would not have happened," she said.
The city held a special election to select a new mayor, David Meyer. Meyer said in February that the city has "been through a lot in the last six months."
Silverthorne's arrest came amid a trying year for him. He lost his full-time civilian job, lost his home and was diagnosed with cancer.
He was flocked by more than a dozen supporters outside court last month. Residents said they still care for Silverthorne, despite the scandal.
“No one wanted to see that happen to someone who represented our city so well. He was a great advocate for Fairfax, and we hope that his personal life gets resolved soon," resident Janet Jaworksi said.
Silverthorne is due to be sentenced June 9. The charge calls for Silverthorne to get 5 to 40 years in prison, but the judge could choose a lesser sentence. Silverthorne had no criminal record.