x
Breaking News
More () »

Arizona state senator faces 7 felony charges tied to alleged sexual conduct with child

Police report reveals Democrat Tony Navarrete was arrested after he acknowledged abuse in recorded phone call with accuser.

PHOENIX — Arizona State Sen. Otoniel "Tony" Navarrette faces seven felony charges in connection with alleged sexual conduct with a child that occurred over several years, according to a Phoenix police report released Friday.

The Phoenix Democrat was arrested at his home Thursday night after police recorded a phone call between Navarrete and his accuser, a now 16-year-old boy. 

The boy told police the day before that Navarrete had performed oral sex on him several times, beginning at the age of 12 or 13.

During the call, according to the police report, the victim asked Navarrete why he touched him inappropriately. 

Navarrete told the boy he regretted what he did, but said he "wasn't well."

Here are the other major developments in the 24 hours since Navarrete's arrest:

Calls from all sides to step down

The political reaction was swift.

After Navarrete's first court appearance, at about 3 p.m. Friday, his Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate urged him to "immediately resign."

Arizona House and Senate Democratic Caucasus said in its statement: 

"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 

Abuse of this kind is intolerable and our hearts go out to the victims. He should do the right thing for all involved and immediately resign from the Legislature."

Republican Senate President Karen Fann and GOP Gov. Doug Ducey also called on Navarrete to step down.

RELATED: Arizona state Sen. Tony Navarrete faces growing calls to resign from Democrats, Republicans

First court appearance Friday

Court Commissioner Steve McCarthy ordered Navarrete to be held on a $50,000 bond, with electronic monitoring and a ban on contact with minors or his accuser. 

"He should have no contact with minors, absolutely," Maricopa County prosecutor Jeanine Sorrentino said.

If convicted on all counts, Sorrentino said, the minimum mandatory sentence would be 49 years in prison.

Navarrete's attorney, Roland Rillos, argued for a lower bond and more lenient release, noting his client had cooperated with police. 

A status conference was set for Aug. 12 and a preliminary hearing for Aug. 16 at 10:30 a.m.

>>UPDATE: Navarrete was released from the Maricopa County Jail Saturday on a $50,000 bond. 

RELATED: Alleged sexual abuse by Arizona Sen. Tony Navarrete went on for years, court documents say

Kept in Isolation

Case documents show Navarrete is being kept in isolation

The arrest came two days after Navarrete revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19, despite being vaccinated. Navarrete said he was experiencing mild symptoms while isolating at home.

Navarrete, a 35-year-old Phoenix native, is serving his second two-year term at the state Senate, representing District 30 in West Phoenix. He was elected to the House in 2016. 

Navarrete's LinkedIn page shows he has worked as deputy director of Promise Arizona, a leading advocate for young migrants, for the last 10 years.

Petra Falcon, executive director of Promise Arizona, said Navarrete had not been on the payroll "for several years." He provided updates on legislative issues, she said. 

A Legislature biography shows he has worked for several political campaigns and with community groups over the last decade.

Disturbing account of alleged abuse 

The probable cause statement from police revealed a disturbing account of alleged abuse from a teenage boy who claimed that Navarrete began touching him and performing sexual acts on him when he was 12 or 13 years old.

The victim, who lived with Navarrete when the alleged crimes occurred, detailed that the lawmaker would go into his bed and touch him inappropriately, according to police.

"The victim suffers from anxiety and anger issues stemming from the abuse," the police report says.

The alleged abuse continued sporadically for multiple years. The victim's younger brother also told police that Navarrete groped his leg in the past.

The now 16-year-old victim told police and agreed to make a recorded call with Navarrete on Thursday afternoon.

In the call, police said, Navarrete acknowledged the abuse and apologized to the victim, saying he wished things could be different.

According to the call recorded by police: 

"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.'

The victim asked Otoniel why he touched his penis. Otoniel told the victim he wasn't well. Otoniel told the victim that nothing he did was his fault. 

Otoniel said, he is regretful and not happy for his actions having to live with them for the rest of his life."

READ IN SPANISH: El senador del estado de Arizona Tony Navarrete fue arrestado por cargos de conducta sexual con un menor, según la policía

Up to Speed

Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12 News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.

RELATED: Alleged sexual abuse by Arizona Sen. Tony Navarrete went on for years, court documents say

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out