PHOENIX — State Senator Tony Navarrete has been arrested Thursday evening in connection to a child sex crime investigation, police and multiple other sources confirm.
35-year-old Navarrete serves as a Democrat in Arizona’s 30th District, which covers parts of west Phoenix and Glendale.
The alleged incident involving sexual conduct with a minor happened in 2019.
According to court documents, a 16-year-old boy said he previously lived with Navarette and says he woke up to Navarette touching him inappropriately and then performing sex acts on him. This allegedly occurred more than five times and began when he was 12 to 13-years-old and lasted until the victim was 15.
The teen says he saw Navarette's hand underneath his pants on multiple occasions, and he allegedly told the victim, "Oh I shouldn't be doing this, this is wrong."
He says he now suffers from anxiety and anger issues that stem from the abuse.
The victim's 13-year-old brother says Navarette also touched his upper leg before he hit him away.
During the incident, the boy said he felt frozen and unsure of what to do.
On Thursday, a one-party consent call was conducted between one of the victims and Navarette. During the call, Navarette told the teen he regrets any "bad actions" and that he "wasn't well" during the time of the incidents.
Police say Navarrete now faces multiple counts of sexual conduct with a minor, one count of molestation of a child and one count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor.
In his initial court appearance Friday, bond was set for $50,000.
"He should have no contact with minors. Absolutely - whether in his family, out of his family, strangers," said the prosecutor at Navarrete's initial appearance.
If convicted on all counts he faces a minimum sentence of 49 years.
Navarrete was released from Maricopa County Jail on a $50,000 bond Saturday.
Other state Democrats are calling on Sen. Navarrete's resignation.— Zach Crenshaw (@ZachCrenshaw) August 6, 2021
Obviously, that has not happened yet - as the state senator is still in an MCSO isolation cell, after catching COVID earlier this week then being arrested Thursday night. pic.twitter.com/HsbzawMxLB
Following the news, several state leaders have released statements calling for his resignation.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey:
Sen. Navarrete should resign immediately. These allegations are abhorrent. My prayers are with the young victims and their loved ones during this traumatic time.
“We are deeply disturbed by what we've learned from recent media reports about the arrest of Senator Tony Navarrete. As Senate Democrats we stand with all survivors of sexual assault and encourage anyone who needs it to call the Arizona Sexual and Domestic Violence Helpline at 602-279-2980 (SMS Text: 520-720-3383). These allegations and arrest are serious and deeply troubling. Right now, it’s important to allow for due process to take place through our judicial system. We are closely monitoring the situation and are anxious for the facts of this ongoing investigation to be revealed. At this point we do not have any details surrounding this ongoing case and we will refrain from further comment.”
"While everyone in this country is entitled to a fair trial, elected officials must be held to the highest ethical standards. Given the gravity of the felony charges against State Senator Tony Navarrete, the Arizona Democratic Party is calling for his immediate resignation."
Arizona LGBTQ Legislative Caucus:
"Our hearts go out to all victims of sexual abuse. Perpetrators of sexual abuse must be brought to justice. We are confident that the Phoenix Police Department and the Maricopa County Court system will do all in their power to see that justice is done."
LGBTQ Caucus Chairman César Chávez added, "For the sake of all involved, Senator Navarrete must resign immediately. My heart is broken. I am furious. If these charges are sustained and proven, it is a betrayal of trust that cannot be overlooked or ignored. Children deserve better. I implore the courts to make sure that every perpetrator of sexual crimes be removed from society and punished to the full extent of the law."