An Arizona state senator has filed a formal request with the Arizona Senate Ethics Committee to convene immediate disciplinary hearings regarding Sen. Otoniel “Tony” Navarette, who has been accused of child molestation.
Sen. Kelly Townsend, a Republican, filed her request Monday to convene to “examine this allegation and make recommendations regarding discipline.”
“If the recommendation for discipline included expulsion, I petition that the Ethics Committee make a formal request to the Governor’s office to convene a special session for the purposes of holding the necessary vote to expel,” Townsend wrote.
Townsend said the allegations against Navarette, a Democrat, are “of such egregious nature that warrants expedient action that cannot wait until the Legislature resumes session in January of 2022.”
“I therefore petition Chairwoman [Sine] Kerr to convene the committee within a week, unless resignation is tendered by Senator Tony Navarette prior to the convening of the committee,” she added.
Navarette, 35, is currently free after posting $50,000 bond after he was arrested last week on seven felony counts of child molestation involving two young boys.
The alleged sexual misconduct began in 2019 and involved multiple incidents that took place at a Phoenix residence.
A number of key Democrats have demanded that Navarette resign in light of the criminal allegations.
In the two-page ethics complaint, Townsend asks that the committee consider questions relating to when and how the allegations against Navarette were first made and whether there have been allegations of sexual harassment of a co-worker or subordinate, and what steps were made to resolve the matter.
“To what extent has Senator Tony Navarette used state resources to advance the effort to expose minors under the age of 12 to sexual content, to include such content in the public school system?” Townsend wrote.
“For the safety of our staff, elected officials, and the public, I am asking that these allegation[s] be addressed through the formal process of the ethics committee, and that should the committee find cause, a recommendation to the Governor to call a special session to take action be made as soon as possible.”
An Ethics Committee spokeswoman Tuesday said no action has been taken regarding Townsend’s request.
A call to Navarette’s office was not returned.