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Mormon church denounces Arizona official's adoption scheme

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Posted at 10:26 AM, Nov 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-11 12:26:05-05

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."

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.