Arizona Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen, who was indicted in three different states for illegally trafficking children through his adoption agency, has requested that his trial in Arkansas be delayed for almost a year. He is currently free on bond.
Doug Thompson of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports:
The Arizona adoption attorney charged with 19 federal crimes involving illegally enticing women to give up their babies asked for a 10-month delay in his trial date in a motion filed Monday.
“As this court is aware, defendant not only faces criminal allegations in this court, but he has also been indicted by the state of Arizona and the state of Utah,” says the motion filed in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville. The motion asked the trial be delayed from Dec. 9 to October.
Defendant Paul D. Petersen, 44, of Mesa, Ariz., faces a total of 62 charges: 19 federal counts in Arkansas, 32 state counts in Arizona and 11 state counts in Utah, all regarding his services as an adoption attorney in those states. He is free on separate bonds in the different states but, by order of the federal court in Arkansas, has to wear a GPS monitoring device.
The federal indictment accuses Petersen of paying pregnant women from the Marshall Islands, a small nation in the western Pacific, to give up their children for adoption. He paid their airfare to the United States for that purpose and then gave them airfare home, all in violation of a specific clause in a treaty with the islands’ government, his indictment says. (Full article here.)
The hub of Petersen’s alleged illegal activities was Maricopa County, in Arizona, where he serves as the County Assessor, an elected official.
Authorities in Arizona have been unsuccessful in removing him from office so far, but they recently seized many of his assets.
Robert Anglen, writing for the Arizona Republic, reports:
A Maricopa County Superior Court judge gave the green light for authorities to seize Petersen’s office building. The judge also allowed them to seize Petersen’s vehicles, his Mesa home, his family’s vacation home, four properties he owned in Arizona, Utah and Arkansas and to freeze 11 personal and business bank accounts.
Authorities in the seizure warrant allege Petersen made at least $1,459,578 as part of an illegal adoption scheme he operated in three states.
Petersen is the elected Maricopa County assessor and a Mesa attorney specializing in private adoptions. Federal and state authorities say his business was built on human trafficking.
Petersen is facing charges in Arizona, Utah and Arkansas on allegations that he illegally transported pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the U.S., fraudulently enrolled them for Medicaid and orchestrated adoptions of their children to American families for up to $40,000 each. (Full article here.)
Who in Arizona Helped Petersen with his Child Trafficking Operation?
So far, no one in the mainstream corporate-sponsored media seems to be doing any investigative work on their own to try to uncover this scandal further. It is hard to believe that Paul Petersen could have accomplished this operation on his own, especially since he served in a public office as County Assessor for Maricopa County.
Health Impact News has conducted its own investigation, and if federal law enforcement is serious about stopping child trafficking flowing through Arizona, Mr. Petersen’s connections should be investigated.
Doug Ducey is the governor of Arizona, and had strong ties to Petersen, as was seen on Petersen’s Twitter feed, which has since been removed. Petersen endorsed his campaign to become the Governor of Arizona.
He also apparently looked to Governor Ducey to help with legislation to make his adoptions easier.
Arizona foster care, of course, has been ripe with corruption as we have reported numerous times at Health Impact News, as have many other media outlets in the corporate media, so having connections with the agency overseeing foster care (Arizona Department of Child Safety, or CPS), the County Attorney, and judges who oversee adoptions would all help.
Bill Montgomery was the Maricopa County Attorney for much of the time Petersen was operating, and was then appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court as a judge by Doug Ducey.
Governor Ducey then appointed Allister Adel, the former general counsel for Arizona Department of Child Safety (CPS), the agency responsible for putting children into foster care, as the new Maricopa County Attorney.
Paul Petersen was able to establish connections in the Marshall Islands because he is Mormon, and did his Mormon missionary service there, learning the language and culture.
According to Civil Beats:
As a young Mormon missionary in the Marshall Islands, Petersen learned to speak Marshallese, and made lasting contacts. An international adoption agency recruited him because of his fluency in Marshallese while he was still a college student, and he travelled to the islands to arrange adoptions.
Many of his current clients also are Mormon and learn of him through friends and relatives.
Paul Petersen has strong connections to the Arizona political scene, especially with his fellow Mormons. In 2013 he tweeted about Arizona Senator Jeff Flake visiting the Marshall Islands:
Jeff Flake is Mormon, and according to the Brigham Young University Alumni News, he traveled to the Marshall Islands in 2015 with New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich, also a Mormon.
Read the rest here: Health Impact News