Democratic Arizona state Sen. Otoniel “Tony” Navarrete resigned on Tuesday in the face of multiple felony charges in connection with allegedly sexually abusing a child.
“This was the right thing to do considering the serious allegations,” Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Minority Leader Rebecca Rios said in a joint statement announcing Navarrete’s resignation.
State lawmakers from both parties and GOP Gov. Doug Ducey had called for Navarrete to leave office afer he was arrested and jailed earlier this month on seven felony charges, including sexual contact with a minor, child molestation and attempted sexual contact with a minor.
Navarrete was elected a state senator in 2018, representing Arizona’s 30th District, and previously served as a state representative.
A now-16-year-old alleged victim said Navarrete had abused him multiple times when they were living in the same residence in Phoenix, starting when he was 12 or 13 and continuing until he was 15, according to the charging document filed in court in Maricopa County.
Investigators say they have an audio recording made this month of Navarrete apologizing to the victim. “Otoniel told the victim he wasn’t well,” according to the charging document. “Otoniel told the victim that nothing he did was his fault.”
The victim suffers from anxiety and anger issues stemming from the alleged abuse, according to the charging document. The teen’s 13-year-old brother also told police that Navarrete had touched his upper leg, prompting the boy to hit Navarrete’s hand, according to the charging document.
Following Navarrete’s arrest, Ducey had called for the state lawmaker’s immediate resignation.
“These allegations are abhorrent,” Ducey said in a tweet at the time. “My prayers are with the young victims and their loved ones during this traumatic time.”
Navarrete, who has not yet entered a plea to the charges, was released from jail after posting a $50,000 bond and agreeing to electronic monitoring. His attorney, Roland Rillos, has not respond to messages from CNN requesting comment.
A status conference in the case is scheduled for Thursday, with a preliminary hearing set for next Monday.
“We know that the Arizona Judicial Branch will deliver justice,” Fann and Rios said in their statement Tuesday, “and pray for healing and support for all victims.”
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