Facing mounting pressure from fellow state officials, an Arizona Democrat resigned Tuesday after being accused of sexual abuse with two minors, according to reports.
State Sen. Tony Navarrete, 35, wrote in an email that he was stepping down immediately, state Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, told The Associated Press.
Navarrete’s resignation was immediately accepted by Fann and state Senate Democratic leader Rebecca Rios, they said in a joint statement, according to FOX 10 of Phoenix.
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“This was the right thing to do considering the serious allegations,” the Senate leaders said in their joint statement, FOX 10 reported. “We know that the Arizona Judicial Branch will deliver justice and pray for healing and support for all victims.”
Following Navarrete’s resignation, state Senate Ethics Chair Sine Kerr wrote that an ethics complaint against the Democrat had been “dismissed as moot.”
Navarrete is accused of repeatedly abusing a boy whom he had been living with who is now 16, starting when the boy was about 12 or 13 and continuing to age 15, FOX 10 reported.
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The teen told authorities he deals with anxiety and anger because of the alleged abuse, the station reported.
The disgraced Democrat is also accused of attempting to abuse the teen’s younger brother, according to FOX 10.
Former Arizona state Sen. Tony Navarrette. (Arizona Legislature website)
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, called the charges against Navarrete “abhorrent” in a Twitter message last Friday.
Both Ducey and the Arizona Democratic Party called for the lawmaker’s resignation.
After his arrest last week, Navarrete appeared in court Friday but did not enter a plea on charges of child molestation and sexual contact with a minor, the station reported.
Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Steve McCarthy set Navarrete’s bond at $50,000 after the suspect’s defense lawyer requested $15,000, the report said.
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McCarthy also ordered the Democrat to surrender his passport and avoid contact with minors if he’s released pending further legal action.
Navarrete was serving his first term in the state Senate after previously serving in the state House.
He faces at least 49 years in prison if convicted, FOX 10 reported.
The process of filling Navarrete’s vacated state Senate seat will begin after Ducey and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs are formally informed about the resignation, FOX 10 reported.