Arizona Democrat Convicted on Child Sex Abuse Charge

Former Arizona state senator Tony Navarrete (Wikimedia Commons)
March 1, 2024

A jury in Arizona this week found former state senator Tony Navarrete (D.) guilty of sexually abusing a minor but acquitted him on a second charge of child molestation. 

The Thursday verdict came following another jury's failure last year to reach a unanimous decision. Navarrete, then a major player in the state legislature, was first arrested in August 2021 after two teenage boys accused him of sexual abuse lasting several years. One of the boys alleged Navarrete touched his penis and attempted to perform oral sex, while the other boy said Navarrete fondled him under his shorts. 

"Of course, I regret any bad actions that I did, absolutely wishing everything could be different. I'm sorry, mijo," Navarrete said to one of the boys in a phone call that Phoenix police officers were listening in on. He was arrested just hours after the phone call, which deputy county attorney Michael Minicozzi called "the crux of the case."

The Arizona Democrat, who will be sentenced in April, faces up to two years in prison, although he might secure probation for being a first-time offender. The jury decided not to convict him on the child molestation charge, a Class 2 felony that would have resulted in a minimum sentence of 13 years. 

Navarrete was elected to the Arizona House in 2016 and then served in the State Senate from early 2019 until his resignation in August 2021, which came after every Democratic member of the Arizona state legislature demanded he resign. Navarrete’s former top ally Sen. Mark Kelly (D., Ariz.) also called on him to resign at the time, calling the charges "serious and disturbing."