Arizona Democrat State Senator Tony Navarrete has resigned, following 6 days of outcry after he was arrested on charges of repeatedly molesting two teenage boys.
Navarrete, who was considered a rising star within the Arizona Democrat party and founded his party’s LGBTQ Caucus, resigned his position within the Arizona legislature on Tuesday afternoon in an email to Senate President Karen Fann. Fann and Democrat Senate Leader Rebecca Rios announced his resignation in a joint statement, saying that it was the “right thing to do” giving the serious nature of the allegations. “We know that the Arizona Judicial Branch will deliver justice and pray for healing and support for all victims,” the statement read.
— Arizona Senate Democrats (@AZSenateDems) August 10, 2021
Kari Lake, the former Fox News host who is now running for Governor in the state, was one of the first Arizonans to comment, saying that if she took the governorship, she would stop the “far left from sexualizing our children.” He was facing a likely Senate ethics investigation, launched by a complaint from Republican State Senator Kelly Townsend, who described his crimes as “heinous.”
Senator Tony Navarette, who sponsored the Kindergarten Sex Ed bill in Arizona and is now being accused of child sex crimes—has resigned. As governor I will stop the far left from sexualizing our children!
— Kari Lake for AZ Governor (@KariLake) August 10, 2021
As National File reported, the Arizona Senator was arrested on Thursday, and charged with the sexual abuse and molestation of two teenage brothers. The State Senator first appeared in court on Friday afternoon, with police recommending 7 felony charges against him, including three counts of sexual conduct with a minor under 15, one count of molestation of a child, two counts of sexual conduct with a minor over 15, and one count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor:
Documents from the Superior Court of Maricopa County detail the allegations against him. One of the victims claims that Navarrete touched him and “performed sex acts” on him in at least five separate occasions from the ages of 12 or 13 up until he was 15 years old. In the first incident, police say Navarrete put his hand down the pants of one of the victims, and also reportedly touched his brother’s leg, who hit Navarrete’s hand away to defend himself. Phoenix Police now claim that following an interview with the victims, they got one of the boys to call Navarrete, and have the audio of the call as evidence.
In the audio, police say Navarrete admitted to touching the penis of the young boy, who is now 16, and also performing oral sex on him. “Of course, I regret any bad actions that I did, absolutely wishing everything could be different,” the Democrat Senator said on the call, adding “I’m sorry, mijo,” an affectionate Spanish word for male children. When the boy confronted him as to why he committed the alleged crimes, which caused the youth to develop anger and anxiety issues, Navarrete can be heard claiming that he “wasn’t well,” and was sorry the boy had to “go through all this pain.”
During Navarrete’s court appearance, his lawyer, who said that the case should stress the presumption of innocence, attempted to set his bail at $15,000, but the judge imposed a far higher bond of $50,000. The bond also required Navarrete surrendering his passport to the authorities, and be forced to stay away from all children, including family members and his alleged victims, among other restrictions. Prosecutors pushed for the harsher restrictions due to the nature of his charges. If convicted, they could result in a minimum sentence of 49 years for Navarrete.
Many Arizona politicians had called on Navarrete to resign, from across the political spectrum. Senator Wendy Rogers, a fierce fighter for election integrity, said he must resign “ASAP,” and children must be protected “from evil like this,” while in a joint statement, the Arizona House and Senate Democrats said that “the circumstances and serious nature of the felony charges faced by Senator Navarrete provide an untenable distraction from his role as an elected officials and public servant for District 30,” adding that molestation of that kind is “intolerable and our hearts to go out to the victims.”
I concur with Governor @dougducey. Resign ASAP. We must protect our children from evil like this. https://t.co/Gmv33q8357
— Wendy Rogers (@WendyRogersAZ) August 7, 2021
Today, Sen. Rogers added, “I am glad that former senator Navarette has resigned from the prestigious Arizona Senate. We do not tolerate that kind of despicable behavior & I pray for those who were affected by why he did. We must have basic moral & legal standards & hold people accountable. #ProtectOurKids”
I am glad that former senator Navarette has resigned from the prestigious Arizona Senate. We do not tolerate that kind of despicable behavior & I pray for those who were affected by why he did. We must have basic moral & legal standards & hold people accountable. #ProtectOurKids
— Wendy Rogers (@WendyRogersAZ) August 10, 2021
Navarrete was unable to be reached for comment by news organizations following his resignation, with the AP reporting that his cell number had been disconnected.
This is a breaking story, and may be updated with more information.