State senator Tony Navarrete resigns following arrest on federal child sex abuse charges

Navarrete could face nearly 50 years behind bars


Gage Skidmore

Tony Navarrete, pictured in 2018, speaking with attendees at a Trump Tax Town Hall hosted by Tax March at Events on Jackson in Phoenix.

Embattled Arizona lawmaker Otoniel “Tony” Navarrete resigned from his post as a state senator on Tuesday night after his arrest on seven felony charges relating to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

“Effective immediately, I am officially resigning my post as Arizona State Senator for District 30,” Navarrete wrote to Senate President Karen Fann.

But in a separate correspondence with reporters, Navarrete maintained his innocence.

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

Navarrete, a Democrat, represented District 30, which contains much of uptown Phoenix heading west into Glendale. Navarrete was first elected to the state legislature as a representative in 2016 before beginning his term as a state senator in January 2019.

On Aug. 5, Navarrete was arrested and held on a $50,000 bond — which was paid on Aug. 7, securing his release. He has been charged with several felony offenses — five involving sexual conduct with a minor, one for attempted sexual conduct with a minor, and one child molestation charge.

Phoenix police moved in to arrest Navarrete after a 16-year-old boy interviewed with detectives and told them the 35-year-old molested him on several occasions between the ages of 12 and 15.

The teenager than called Navarrete to ask why he had molested him, and an arrest report viewed by the Washington Post  said the state senator apologized and told the teen that he “wasn’t well.”

The allegations against the former senator have generated widespread condemnation from lawmakers across the political spectrum.

“These allegations are abhorrent,” Governor Doug Ducey tweeted. “My prayers are with the young victims and their loved ones during this traumatic time.”

“This was the right thing to do considering the serious allegations,” read a joint statement issued by Senate President Fann and Senate Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios.

If convicted on all charges, Navarrate could face a minimum 49-year prison sentence.

The process to find a replacement to serve the final year-and-a-half of Navarrete’s term is now underway.