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Adoptions in trafficking scheme won't be undone

Posted: 1:38 PM, Oct 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-09 16:38:27-04
Officials in three states say they will not try to undo or interfere with dozens of adoptions done as part of a human smuggling scheme that led to charges against an Arizona county assessor.

PHOENIX (AP) - Officials in three states say they will not try to undo or interfere with dozens of adoptions done as part of a human smuggling scheme that led to charges against an Arizona county assessor.

Prosecutors in Arizona, Utah and Arkansas said Wednesday that they consider the adoptive parents to be victims in the scheme along with the biological mothers who were brought from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. to give birth and hand over their babies.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the focus of the case is on the abuse of the system by Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen.

Authorities say Petersen has for years run an adoption law practice in Mesa.

Petersen's attorney, Matthew Long, defended his client's actions during a Tuesday court hearing in Phoenix as "proper business practices" and said they disagreed with the allegations.