Morenci man arraigned on child sex charges

A Morenci man was arraigned Tuesday on two separate cases totaling four counts regarding child sex charges.

Held on $200,000 cash-only bond

By Jon Johnson

CLIFTON – Jason Downing, 31, of Morenci, was arraigned in Greenlee County Superior Court on Tuesday regarding child sex charges. 

Downing has two separate cases against him; the first case lists charges of molestation of a child and sexual abuse, and the second case lists charges of molestation of a child and sexual conduct with a minor. 

Downing is represented by Daisy Flores in both cases. He allegedly admitted to the molestation and said he didn’t know why he did it but that he himself had been molested twice as a child.  

The complaint was issued July 16 and Downing was bound over to Greenlee Superior Court on July 22. On Tuesday, Aug. 17, Downing was arraigned in superior court on both cases.

Clifton Police were first notified of the possible child molestation by the victim’s mother on June 30. 

The victim (who is under the age of 12) was able to describe the abuse to the investigators. Afterward, a second child victim came forward and said Downing had done the same type of abuse to the second victim as well.

Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office Photo: Jason Downing

Additionally, detectives listened in on a phone call made to Downing in which he was asked, “what he did and why?” and Downing allegedly responded, “put my hands down her pants . . . I have no idea, cause I’m (expletive deleted) sick.” Downing can also be heard admitting to molesting the second victim on the phone call as well, according to a Clifton Police report.

Downing, who is a retired Marine, checked himself into the Tucson Veterans Affairs Hospital in Tucson that night. The following day, July 1, Greenlee County Justice of the Peace Judge Grace Nabor issued a warrant for Downing’s arrest. On July 2, Clifton Police Chief Omar Negrete and Greenlee County Attorney’s Office Investigator Eric Ellison went to the VA in Tucson, and Downing was taken into custody and booked into the Pima County Adult Corrections Facility. 

Downing’s next hearing is set for a pre-trial conference on Oct. 19. He is being held on a $200,000 cash-only bond.