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Arizona lawmaker gets 1 year in prison in child molestation case

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(The Center Square) – A former state lawmaker found guilty of one charge of sexual conduct with a minor was sentenced to one year in prison on Friday, a far cry from the 49 years he initially faced.

With good behavior, former Arizona Sen. Otoniel “Tony” Navarrete could be released earlier.

A jury in February found Navarrete guilty of sexual conduct with a minor aged 15 or older, a Class 6 felony. The Phoenix Democrat was acquitted of one count of child molestation and another sexual conduct charge.

According to the Arizona Republic, Navarrete turned down a 60-day sentence followed by 10 years of supervised probation because that deal meant he would have to admit guilt in the crimes. He had maintained his innocence in statements after the indictment was released.

He was arrested in 2021, amid his third term as a state lawmaker. Navarrete faced 49 years in prison for his crimes involving multiple minors, but a November 2023 mistrial washed away most of those charges.

The initial indictment included Class 2 felony molestation of a child, three Class 2 felonies for sexual conduct with a minor, one Class 3 felony for attempted sexual conduct with a minor, and two Class 6 felonies for sexual conduct with a minor.

The charges alleged Navarrete molested one of the victims, a boy under the age of 15, between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2020. The seventh count alleges Navarrete attempted to engage in similar behavior with another victim under the age of 15 between May 1, 2019 and Aug. 31, 2019. Police had taken statements from Navarrete’s family members and recorded a phone call between one of the boys and the lawmaker where law enforcement said he admitted to molestation.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week runs from April 21-27.

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