Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints denounces Arizona official’s adoption scheme

Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen, right, along with his attorney, Kurt Altman, leave after Petersen's arraignment hearing in Phoenix, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. Petersen pleaded not guilty to fraud and theft charges stemming from an alleged human smuggling scheme involving pregnant women from the Marshall Islands who were brought to the U.S. to give birth for adoptions. (AP Photo/Jacques Billeaud)

PHOENIX (AP) — A leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says he is “disgusted” by an Arizona elected official and church member accused of running an adoption scheme.

Ronald Rasband, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, told The Arizona Republic the church leadership has found the human smuggling charges against Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen “sickening.”

This undated booking photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office shows County Assessor Paul Petersen, who has been indicted in an adoption fraud case. Petersen is 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. Utah also has charged him with 11 felony counts, including human smuggling, sale of a child and communications fraud. (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

It’s the first time an official with The Church has weighed in on Petersen’s case. The Quorum is the highest governing body after the president.

Rasband says they will also review Petersen’s membership.

Prosecutors in Arizona, Utah and Arkansas say Petersen brought pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. and paid them to give up their babies for adoption.

He has pleaded not guilty.

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1 Comment

  • PolygamyPolly November 11, 2019 at 2:48 pm Reply

    At least it wasn’t the like the Indian school & Americanization program that the Mormon church used to take children from their natural parents and place them in Mormon families. That would be terrible. “DO as I say, not as I do” – Mormons since Joe & his rock in a hat began such a toxic organization.

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