Arizona Democratic State Sen. Otoniel “Tony” Navarrete of Phoenix was arrested on Thursday for allegedly sexually abusing two young teenagers over the course of several years.
“Navarrete, 35, was booked into jail on suspicion of charges that included three counts of sexual conduct with a minor, and one count of molestation of a child,” Fox 35 reported. “He made his initial court appearance on Friday via iPad due to him having COVID-19.”
According court filings, a 14-year-old boy who lived with Navarrete is one of the believed victims. One of the molestation incidents is alleged to have occurred in 2019.
“The police report says the victim, who is now 16 years old, alleges that Navarrete first molested him when he was 12 or 13 by touching the child’s penis while he was sleeping,” the Arizona Mirror reported. “In incidents that occurred over several years, he told police that Navarrete would lie down in bed next to the sleeping boy and touch his genitals under his clothes, sometimes performing oral sex on the boy.”
“He is also alleged to have attempted to have sexual contact with the victim’s younger brother, who is now 13 years old,” the Mirror added.
“The judge set a $50,000 secured bond for Navarrete,” Fox reported. “If released, he also has to have electronic monitoring, absolutely no contact with minors, and he must surrender his passport.”
The Arizona Democratic Party reacted to the news about Navarette’s arrest.
“We are deeply disturbed by what we’ve learned from recent media reports about the arrest of Senator Tony Navarrete. 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,” the statement continued. “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.”
However, Arizona Police say they recorded Navarrete talking to one of the victims on a call and he admitted to the molestation.
“Of course, I regret any bad actions that I did, absolutely wishing everything could be different. I’m sorry, mijo,” Navarrete said on the recording. The police said they made the call without Navarette’s knowledge.
The Arizona Democrat now faces seven felony charges involviong sexual misconduct with the two minors. While the accused are always presumed innocent until proven guilty, an audio recording of Navarette admitting to the molestation would be devastating in the court of public opinion, even if it is struck down as inadmissable in court.
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