Arizona state senator accused of sexual conduct with minor

National

In this undated photo released by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office shows Arizona State Sen. Tony Navarrete. Sen. Navarrete has been arrested on suspicion of charges accusing him of sexual conduct with a minor, police said Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

PHOENIX (AP) — Democratic Arizona state Sen. Tony Navarrete has been arrested on suspicion of charges accusing him of sexual conduct with a minor, police said Friday.

Police received a report on Wednesday about sexual contact that allegedly occurred in 2019. Navarrete, who represents a west Phoenix district, was arrested Thursday after detectives interviewed a juvenile victim and witnesses, police said in a statement.

Navarrete, 35, was booked into jail on suspicion of charges that included multiple counts of sexual conduct with a minor, the statement said.

Navarrete did not immediately respond to email and phone messages seeking comment.

Court records on Navarrete’s case were not immediately available and it was not clear whether he has an attorney who could comment on his behalf. He was expected to make an initial court appearance Friday afternoon.

Sgt. Andrew Williams, a Police Department spokesman, declined to provide additional information on the case, saying police didn’t 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 experiencing minor symptoms while isolating at home.

Navarrete is serving his second term in the Senate after serving one term in the House.

Senate Democrats said in a statement they were “aware one of our members has been arrested and are awaiting further details and for law enforcement to do its job. We will not have further comment at this time.”

Republican Sen. Kelly Townsend said on Twitter she took the position that Navarrete was innocent unless proven guilty.

“However, if it’s true, then I don’t ever want to lay eyes on you again, @NavarreteA,” Townsend said in her tweet.

The Arizona Legislature is not in session. Lawmakers finished their 2021 regular session in late June and, unless a special session is called, will next convene in January for the 2020 regular session.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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