One state senator dubbed a “rising star” within the Democratic Party is now facing serious criminal charges likely to bring his political career to a screeching halt.
According to reports, Arizona state Sen. Tony Navarrete was arrested on Thursday evening on multiple felony charges involving sexual misconduct with a minor. He reportedly appeared in court the following day for arraignment.
The crimes allegedly occurred on more than one occasion with at least two victims dating back to 2019. Navarrete’s arrest came a short time one of the alleged victims shared details with police officers, who then mounted a successful effort to corroborate the claims.
As the Arizona Mirror explained, the individual who spoke to authorities is currently 16 years old. Navarrete is also accused of attempting to molest the boy’s younger brother, who is currently 13.
When the teen went to police on Wednesday, officers reportedly secretly recorded a conversation between him and the lawmaker. Based on that call, police moved quickly to arrest Navarrete the next day.
A probable cause statement asserted that the senator admitted touching and performing oral sex on the boy and acknowledged what he did was wrong. He reportedly apologized for his behavior and affirmed that it was not the alleged victim’s fault.
An Arizona Republic report noted that Navarrete faces seven felony charges and, if convicted on all counts, he could spend 49 years behind bars.
“An untenable distraction from his role”
The charges against him include three counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of child molestation, each of which are Class 2 felonies since the victim was under 15. He is also charged with Class 6 felony counts of sexual conduct with a minor over the age 15 and a Class 3 felony charge of attempted sexual conduct with a child.
Due to the seriousness of the charges as well as the potential flight risk associated with the possible prison sentence, Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Steve McCarthy set bond at $50,000 and imposed other restrictions on Navarrete’s conduct in the event of his release.
State Democrats were virtually unanimous in calling for his immediate resignation.
In a joint statement, all 48 Democrats in Arizona’s House and Senate wrote: “The circumstances and serious nature of the felony charges faced by Senator Navarrete provide an untenable distraction from his role as an elected official and public servant for District 30.”
It remains to be seen whether he will abide by his fellow Democrats’ demands or attempt to press forward in his role while facing serious charges in court.