PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - State Sen. Tony Navarrete, a Democrat from Phoenix, who was arrested on Thursday and is accused of multiple counts of sexual conduct with a child, was released on a $50,000 bond Saturday morning. Navarrete is also accused of molestation with a minor.
According to court documents released late Friday afternoon, on Aug. 4, a 16-year-old boy told detectives during the first incident, Navarrete put his hand down the victim's pants and touched him inappropriately and that Navarrete would go on to do this several times. The victim said this happened to him more than five times. Navarrete also reportedly touched the victim's 13-year-old brother's upper leg, who had to hit his hand away, documents state.
The victim told investigators he suffers from anxiety and anger issues stemming from the abuse. On Aug. 5, during an audio and video recording between the victim and Navarrete, the teen asked Navarrete if he regretted touching him. Navarrete responded saying "of course I regret any bad actions that I did, absolutely wishing everything could be different." The victim asked Navarrete why he touched him, to which Navarrete responded saying "he wasn't well" and that "nothing the (victim) did was his fault." Navarrete went on to say he was not happy for his actions and that he will have to live with them for the rest of his life.
During Friday's court hearing, prosecutors stated that Navarrete was considered a flight risk because if convicted on all charges, he would face a minimum sentence of 49 years in prison. They asked the judge that he have a restriction to have absolutely no contact with any minors, including family members.
Ultimately, a $50,000 secured bond was set for Navarrete. He was also ordered to surrender his passport, stay away from minors, and, in accordance with Arizona state law, have electronic monitoring put in place.
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, both Democrats, have called on Navarrete to resign. "These are incredibly disturbing allegations," said Hobbs in a tweet. "These are deeply disturbing charges," Hoffman said in her tweet. "We must hold our elected leaders to the highest standards."
These are deeply disturbing charges, and while everyone is innocent until proven guilty, Senator Navarrete needs to resign. We must hold our elected leaders to the highest standards.— Kathy Hoffman (@Supt_Hoffman) August 6, 2021
Late Friday morning, Arizona Senate Democrats released the following full statement:
"We are deeply disturbed by what we've learned from recent media reports about the arrest of Senator Tony Navarrete. As Senate Democrats we stand with all survivors of sexual assault and encourage anyone who needs it to call the Arizona Sexual and Domestic Violence Helpline at 602-279-2980 (SMS Text: 520-720-3383). 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. 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.”
The Arizona House Democratic Caucus released the following statement Friday afternoon regarding Navarrete's arrest:
"We were deeply alarmed by the arrest of Senator Tony Navarrete, and these are obviously very serious and disturbing allegations. We will always strongly support survivors of sexual abuse and have no tolerance for any harm caused to children. Until more is known, it is important at this point to let law enforcement do its job and conduct a thorough and complete investigation providing due process for all involved."
Sen. Navarrete had just tested positive for COVID-19
The arrest of Navarrete comes just days after the vaccinated senator confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19 in a break through case. The results came from a rapid test on July 27 and a PCR COVID-19 test on July 29. He said in a Facebook post his symptoms are mild and urged everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine. "I know that people are tired and frustrated, but it's time to mask up again," he added.
In 2016, Navarrete was first elected to the state House of Representatives and represented District 30. Two years later, voters elected him to the state Senate for District 30. He was re-elected in 2020. When he's not at the state Capitol, he's the deputy director of Promise Arizona, a community based nonprofit.