Arizona lawmaker jailed on suspicion of sexual conduct with a minor
PHOENIX – Arizona state Sen. Tony Navarrete was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of sexual conduct with a minor.
The Phoenix Police Department said in a press release Friday they had probable cause to take Otoniel Navarrete, 35, into custody after interviewing the juvenile victim and witnesses. The alleged crimes occurred in 2019 with a child who said he was 12 or 13 at the time, according to a probable cause statement.
Navarrete was charged with three counts of sexual conduct with a minor (class 2 felony), two counts of sexual conduct with a minor (class 6 felony), one count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child.
“The suspect was arrested and is currently in the process of being booked into jail for multiple counts of sexual conduct with a minor, among other charges,” police said in the press release.
Navarrete is in his second term as a senator in District 30, which encompasses parts of Phoenix and Glendale. Before that, he served one term in the House.
“We are deeply disturbed by what we’ve learned from recent media reports about the arrest of Senator Tony Navarrete,” State Senate Democrats said in a statement released Friday.
“These allegations and arrest are serious and deeply troubling.”
Our statement on the arrest of Senator Tony Navarrete. We encourage anyone who needs it to call the Arizona Sexual and Domestic Violence Helpline at 602-279-2980 or text: 520-720-3383. pic.twitter.com/JCRPM5MMBz
— Arizona Senate Democrats (@AZSenateDems) August 6, 2021
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called on Navarette to resign in light of the allegations.
Sen. Navarrete should resign immediately. These allegations are abhorrent. My prayers are with the young victims and their loved ones during this traumatic time. https://t.co/cX0k2OTdsu
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) August 7, 2021
Democrats, including Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Superintendent of Public Education Kathy Hoffman, also made calls for Navarrete’s resignation.
These are incredibly disturbing allegations. Senator Navarrete should resign immediately. https://t.co/FY1B21zQ8H
— Katie Hobbs (@katiehobbs) August 6, 2021
These are deeply disturbing charges, and while everyone is innocent until proven guilty, Senator Navarrete needs to resign. We must hold our elected leaders to the highest standards.
— Kathy Hoffman (@Supt_Hoffman) August 6, 2021
Given the nature of the charges against Sen. Navarrete, it would be in best interests of his constituents for him to resign from the state senate. He is presumed innocent of the charges but the best interests of the district the represents must come first.
— Rep. Diego Rodriguez (@Diego4Justice) August 6, 2021
Bond for Navarrete was set at $50,000. His next court appearance will be a status conference Thursday at 10:30 a.m. before a preliminary hearing Aug. 16 at 10:30 a.m.
Navarrete was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, months after he was fully vaccinated. He said Tuesday he was recuperating at home.