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Tony Navarrete resigns from state Senate amid child sex crimes charges

By: - August 10, 2021 2:43 pm
The state seal for Arizona

The state seal for Arizona on a door into the House of Representatives at the Capitol. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror

Sen. Tony Navarrete in his official Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office mugshot

State Sen. Tony Navarrete, who was arrested last week over allegations he sexually assaulted an underage boy, has resigned from the Arizona Senate.

Navarrete submitted his resignation in an email to Senate President Karen Fann on Tuesday afternoon, effective immediately, according to a spokesman for the Senate Republicans. His shocking arrest prompted widespread calls to resign from fellow lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, as well as other prominent elected officials.

“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,” Fann and Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios said in a joint statement.

The Phoenix Democrat was arrested on Thursday after a teenager, now 16 years old, told police that Navarrete molested him numerous times over the course of several years. 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 for allegedly attempting sexual contact with another boy. Navarrete faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 49 years in prison. 

Navarrete’s resignation leaves a vacant Senate seat in District 30, which covers parts of west Phoenix. Per state law, when a vacancy arises in the legislature, the precinct committeemen from the former lawmaker’s party and district select three candidates, and the county board of supervisors chooses a replacement from that list. Committeemen are the elected, voting members of a political party’s district-level organization. 

But state law stipulates that that method is only used if there are at least 30 elected precinct committeemen, as opposed to those who have been appointed. According to the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, there are only 29 elected Democratic committeemen in District 30. If there aren’t enough precinct committeemen for the replacement process, a citizens panel appointed by the county supervisors selects the three finalists to fill the vacancy.

This story deals with sexual abuse and assault of minors. If you or someone you know has been a victim of this crime, call 800-656-HOPE for 24/7 help and support.

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Jeremy Duda
Jeremy Duda

Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Jeremy Duda previously served as the Mirror's associate Editor. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”