Arizona state Sen. Tony Navarrete accused of 7 felony charges involving sexual conduct with minors

Arizona State Senator Otoniel "Tony" Navarrete was arrested on Thursday Aug. 5 on suspicion of multiple counts of sexual conduct with a minor and his brother, Phoenix police said.

According to the Arizona Republic, Navarrete was arrested near 27th Avenue and Bethany Home Road and booked into the Maricopa County Jail, police records show.

In addition to being booked on suspicion of four counts of sexual conduct with a minor, there are "other charges," against the Phoenix Democrat, police said.

Senate Democrats released a statement on Friday Aug. 6 saying they were "deeply disturbed" by the allegations which have been reported in the media and they hope that "due process" will take its course through the judicial system.

Police said they had received a report on Aug. 4 of at least one alleged incident that happened in 2019 involving a juvenile victim who was 12 or 13 at the time of the alleged offense. They arrested Navarrete the next day after interviewing the victim.

In a transcript of a police statement relating to a secretly recorded phone call with the victim, which was posted by the Arizona Mirror, Navarette is seen to apologize to his victim and say that he abused the minor because he was "not well," that he regrets his actions, and that it was not the victim's fault.

Navarrete, 35, was elected to the state House in 2016 and served one term before being elected to the state Senate in 2018, where he still serves. There are now multiple calls for his resignation.

On Friday Aug. 6 Navarrete was ordered to remain in jail until a $50,000 secured bond is paid.

Otoniel Navarette | Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

Jeanine Sorrentino, a veteran sex crimes prosecutor for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, requested the bond, noting that Navarrete faces a mandatory minimum of 49 years in prison if he’s convicted of all charges.

Superior Court Commissioner Steven McCarthy read the charges against Navarette via a virtual link: one class 2 felony for molestation, three class 2 felonies for sexual conduct with a minor, one class 3 felony for attempted sexual contact with a minor and two class 6 felonies for sexual conduct with a minor.

“The high prison sentence here makes him a flight risk,” she advised McCarthy.

Roland Rillos, the attorney representing Navarrete, said his client is not a flight risk and has surrendered his passport.

Navarrete is due to appear in court Aug. 12 for a status conference and Aug. 16 for a preliminary hearing.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse call 800-656-4673 for local resources, counseling, and other services.

If you or someone you know is a LGBTQ victim of sexual crimes call The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.

Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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