PHOENIX — An elected official in Arizona was suspended Monday after he was charged with running a human smuggling scheme that brought pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. to give birth and then paid them to give up their children for adoption.
Leaders in Arizona’s most populous county suspended Assessor Paul Petersen without pay for 120 days.
Petersen has been indicted in an adoption fraud case, accused of arranging for dozens of pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to come to the U.S. to give their children up for adoption.
Petersen is accused of illegally paying women from the Marshall Islands to have their babies in the United States and give them up for adoption.
Petersen completed a mission in the Marshall Islands, a collection of atolls and islands in the eastern Pacific, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.