A prominent Democratic state senator in Arizona has been arrested on multiple felony charges including child molestation — and now, he’s facing the potential of decades in prison and the likely end of his political career.
That Democratic lawmaker is Arizona state Sen. Tony Navarrete, and those charges stem directly from his own admission of guilt on a secretly recorded phone call, TheBlaze reports.
According to the report, when the victim, a now-16-year-old boy, informed police of what had occurred, they had him call the senator and monitored the discussion of the alleged crimes. During the talk, Navarrete reportedly admitted his guilt and acknowledged the wrongful nature of what he’d done.
An admission of guilt
According to a probable cause statement filed by Phoenix police, the 35-year-old senator was accused of sexually assaulting the boy on multiple occasions dating back to 2019, when the boy was only 12 or 13.
Navarrete is also accused of attempting to fondle the genitals of the alleged victim’s now-13-year-old younger brother.
In the phone call recorded by the police, in which the victim asked Navarrete if he “regretted” what had occurred, the senator was quoted as having replied: “Of course, I regret any bad actions that I did, absolutely wishing everything could be different. I’m sorry, mijo.”
Asked by the victim why he had done what he did, Navarrete reportedly replied that he “wasn’t well” and insisted that what had occurred was not the fault of the boy.
Numerous felony charges
That admission of guilt was apparently all that police needed to move forward with an arrest of Navarrete on Thursday evening. He appeared in court remotely — due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19 — on Friday.
The Arizona Republic reports that the state senator is facing as many as seven felony charges over four separate offenses.
Among the charges are “[t]hree counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child,” “[t]wo counts of sexual conduct with a minor,” and “[o]ne count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor, punishable as a Class 3 felony,” the Republic reported.
Given the severity of the charges and the potential flight risk the senator would pose if released, local Fox affiliate KSAZ reports that Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Steve McCarthy sided with prosecutors in ordering Navarrete held on a $50,000 bond. He was also forced to forfeit his passport and avoid all contact with minors upon his release.
According to local ABC affiliate KNXV, the Democrat posted the $50,000 bond and was released from the Maricopa County Jail on Saturday.