Sen. Tony Navarrete makes his initial appearance in court on Aug. 6, 2021, for multiple felony child sex crimes. He is accused of molesting a teenaged boy multiple times over several years. Screenshot via Maricopa County Superior Court.
Democrats are calling on state Sen. Otoniel “Tony” Navarrete to resign, among them his fellow legislators and other prominent figures from his party, after the disturbing details of his alleged child molestation crimes became public.
The Senate and House Democrats jointly issued a statement calling for Navarrete, D-Phoenix, to step down.
“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. Abuse of this kind is intolerable and our hearts go out to the victims. He should do the right thing for all involved and immediately resign from the Legislature,” the legislative Democrats said.
Navarrete is a member of the legislature’s LGBTQ Caucus, which issued a separate statement asking him to step down.
“For the sake of all involved, Senator Navarrete must resign immediately. My heart is broken. I am furious. If these charges are sustained and proven, it is a betrayal of trust that cannot be overlooked or ignored. Children deserve better. I implore the courts to make sure that every perpetrator of sexual crimes be removed from society and punished to the full extent of the law,” said Rep. César Chávez, D-Phoenix, who chairs the LGBTQ Legislative Caucus.
The Arizona Democratic Party issued a statement asking Navarrete to step down, saying, “While everyone in this country is entitled to a fair trial, elected officials must be held to the highest ethical standards. Given the gravity of the felony charges against State Senator Tony Navarrete, the Arizona Democratic Party is calling for his immediate resignation.”
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the highest ranking Democrat in state government and the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in next year’s gubernatorial election, called for Navarrete’s resignation as well, as did Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman.
“These are incredibly disturbing allegations. Senator Navarrete should resign immediately,” Hobbs tweeted.
Hoffman wrote on Twitter, “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.”
Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego tweeted, “In light of this evidence. Sen. Navarrete needs to resign.”
On the Republican side of the aisle, Gov. Doug Ducey called for Navarrete to step down, tweeting, “Sen. Navarrete should resign immediately. These allegations are abhorrent. My prayers are with the young victims and their loved ones during this traumatic time.”
Navarrete was arrested Thursday night after a 16-year-old boy told Phoenix police that the lawmaker had molested him numerous times since 2019 while they lived together, beginning when the boy was 12 or 13 years old. According to police, Navarrete acknowledged molesting the boy during a recorded phone call between them on Thursday. Navarrete is also accused of attempting to molest the boy’s younger brother, who is now 13 years old.
He was charged with five counts of sexual conduct with a minor, one count of molestation of a child and one count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor, and faces a mandatory minimum of 49 years in prison.
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