Arizona senator resigns after being arrested on child sex abuse charges

Gay Arizona state senator Tony Navarrete has resigned following his arrest on seven charges of child sex abuse.

Last week, police put together a case against Navarrete, 35, after he was recorded apologising to one of his alleged victims.

A 16-year-old boy had come to Phoenix police on 4 August, alleging that Navarrete had molested him on multiple occasions between the ages of 12 or 13 and 15.

Police had the boy phone Navarrete and, with his permission, recorded the call. According to The Washington Post, the boy asked the state senator why he had abused him.

Navarrete allegedly responded that he “wasn’t well”, and added: “I’m sorry, mijo.”

Hours later, police arrested Navarrete, who was first elected in 2018 as state senator for Arizona’s 30th district.

Police had also spoken with another 13-year-old boy who alleged that Navarrete had tried to touch his genitals.

The politician now faces seven felony charges: five of sexual conduct with a minor, one of attempted sexual conduct with a minor and one charge of child molestation.

Navarette paid a $50,000 bond and left jail after just two days behind bars.

Following calls for him to step down from across the political spectrum, Navarrete handed in his resignation on Tuesday (10 August).

BREAKING Democratic State Sen. Tony Navarrete resigns, effective immediately. He emailed one-sentence statement to Senate leadership. pic.twitter.com/JNxS7Qudcd

— Brahm Resnik (@brahmresnik) August 10, 2021

In a one-sentence email to Arizona’s Republican senate president, Karen Fann, and Democratic leader Rebecca Rios, he said: “Effective immediately, I am officially resigning my post as Arizona state senator for district 30.”

Tony Navarrete denies all charges against him

In a joint statement on Tony Navarrete’s resignation, Karen Fann and Rebecca Rios said: “This was the right thing to do considering the serious allegations.

“We know that the Arizona Judicial Branch will deliver justice and pray for healing and support for all victims.”

But, in a longer statement sent to his mailing list, Navarrete later said denied the charges against him.

He said: “I adamantly deny all allegations that have been made and will pursue all avenues in an effort to prove my innocence.

“In doing so, I will be focusing the vast majority of my time and energy on my defence.”

If Navarrete is found guilty on all counts, he could face up to 49 years in prison.