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Democratic State Sen. Tony Navarrete Arrested By Phoenix Police, Accused Of Sexual Acts With Minor

By Ben Giles
Published: Friday, August 6, 2021 - 8:37am
Updated: Saturday, August 7, 2021 - 7:28am

Tony Navarrete
Arizona Senate Democrats
Tony Navarrete

Arizona state Sen. Tony Navarrete was arrested Thursday and faces multiple charges of sexual acts with a minor.

The Phoenix Police Department announced the arrest late Thursday following a brief investigation. In a statement, police said they received an accusation of a molestation, which allegedly took place in 2019, on Wednesday. Police said they had probable cause for an arrest after interviewing two alleged victims and witnesses. 

Navarrete, 35, was ordered held on a $50,000 bond at an arraignment Friday afternoon.

A probable-cause statement, released as part of court records shortly after Navarrete’s arraignment, reveals details of multiple instances of alleged sexual conduct with two male teenagers. 

Police also wrote that they have a recorded phone call between Navarrete and one of the alleged victim, in which Navarrete was asked about the alleged sexual conduct and expressed regret for his actions. 

“The victim asked Otoniel if he regrets touching him. Otoniel responded by saying of course I regret any bad actions that I did, absolutely wishing everything could be different. I’m sorry mijo,” police wrote in a probable cause statement.

In all, the Phoenix Democrat faces seven felony charges: five counts of sexual conduct with a minor, one count of molestation of a child and one count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor. If convicted on all counts, the charges require a mandatory minimum sentence of 49 years.

An attorney for Navarrete could not immediately be reached for comment.

In a statement released earlier Friday morning, Senate Democrats said they were “deeply disturbed” by media reports of Navarrete's arrest.

After Navarrete’s arraignment, both the House and Senate Democratic caucuses called for his immediate resignation.

"The circumstances and serious nature of the felony charges faced by Sen. Navarrete provide an untenable distraction from his role as an elected official and public servant for District 30,” according to the statement. “Abuse of this kind is intolerable and our hearts go out to the victims.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, a Democrat, also called on Navarrete to resign.

“These are deeply disturbing charges, and while everyone is innocent until proven guilty, Senator Navarrete needs to resign,” she tweeted. “We must hold our elected leaders to the highest standards.”

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat running for governor, also called on Navarrete to resign “immediately.”

Navarrete is in the middle of his second term in the state Senate, having first been elected to the office in 2019. He has represented Legislative District 30 since 2017, having served two years in the House.