Arizona state senator charged with sexual behavior with minor
Phoenix – Arizona Democratic State Senator Tony Navarrete has been charged with multiple sex crimes involving a minor and his bail was set at $ 50,000 during his initial court appearance on Friday, officials said .
Navarrete, 35, did not plead guilty to charges including pedophilia and sexual contact with a minor. He appeared on video from prison, most of the time holding an iPad so only his forehead could be seen.
Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Steve McCarthy has set the $ 50,000 bond requested by prosecutor Jeanine Sorrentino. Sorrentino said Navarrete faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 49 years if convicted on all charges. A defense attorney for Navarrete asked for a bond of $ 15,000, saying Navarrete had no criminal history and did not pose a flight risk.
McCarthy also ordered Navarrete to surrender his passport and avoid contact with any minors if he is released.
Police received a report on Wednesday of sexual interference which an accuser said took place in 2019. Navarrete, who represents a district in western Phoenix, was arrested Thursday after detectives interviewed a minor victim and witnesses, police said in a statement.
Navarrete was jailed and could not be reached for comment.
Court records on Navarrete’s case were not immediately available. Sgt. Andrew Williams, spokesperson for the department, declined to provide additional information on the case, saying police did not want to draw attention to the case “for the sake of the victim.”
Navarrete announced earlier this week that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was showing minor symptoms while isolating himself at home.
Navarrete is serving his second term in the Senate after a term in the House.
Senate Democrats said in a statement they were “deeply disturbed” by Navarrete’s arrest and supported all survivors of sexual assault.
“These allegations and (the) arrest are serious and deeply disturbing. At this time, it is important that due process takes place in our judicial system, ”the statement said.
Republican Senator Kelly Townsend said on Twitter that she maintains Navarrete is innocent unless his guilt is proven.
“However, if that’s true then I don’t want to ever see you again, @NavarreteA,” Townsend said in his tweet.
The Arizona legislature is not in session. Lawmakers completed the 2021 regular session at the end of June and, unless a special session is called, will then meet in January for the 2022 regular session.