Arizona senator resigns after seven felony child sex abuse charges

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Tony NavarretePolice Department

Arizona State senator Otoniel Tony Navarrete has resigned from his position following allegations of child sex abuse.

Senator Navarrete was arrested last week on seven felony child sex abuse charges.

According to a police report, a 16-year-old boy on Wednesday accused the senator of molesting him at home when he was 12 or 13 years old. He claimed that the molesting continued until he was 15-years-old. The next day a 13-year-old alleged that Navarrete had once tried to touch his genitals.

The charges he is to face include three counts of sexual conduct with a minor (a class 2 felony), two counts of sexual conduct with a minor (a class 6 felony), one count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor and one count of molestation of a child. If Navarrete is convicted of seven felony child sex abuse charges levelled against him, he is to face a mandatory minimum sentence of 49 years in prison.

Five days after Navarrete was arrested, he submitted a brief letter of resignation to Arizona Senate President Karen Fann. "Effective immediately, I am officially resigning my post as Arizona State Senator for District 30," the letter read. The Senate President and Minority Leader Rebecca Rios accepted the resignation, stating that "this was the right thing to do considering the serious allegations."

When questioned, Navarrete maintained his innocence and vehemently denied the allegations against him. "While I would love nothing more than to continue to serve the families of Arizona's 30th District, I worry it will be impossible to give my constituents the full attention they deserve. Therefore, I must resign my post as Arizona State Senator today," he said, adding that he will "pursue all avenues" in order to clear his name.

Navarret was released the a day after his arrest after posting a $50,000 bond. He did not enter a plea during his first court appearance on Friday.

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