File – In this Nov. 15, 2019, file photo, Paul Petersen, an Arizona elected official accused of running a multi-state adoption scheme, leaves court following an initial appearance on charges filed in the state in Salt Lake City. Officials in Arizona have hired two law firms and a former attorney general to investigate an elected county assessor who is trying to keep his job as he defends himself against human smuggling charges. Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel said Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, that the lawyers will investigate Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen’s conduct in office as he contests a 120-day suspension. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
PHOENIX (AP) – An Arizona elected official has resigned amid charges he paid women from the Marshall Islands to give up their children for adoption in the U.S. Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen’s resignation Tuesday came after county leaders suspended him.
Petersen has been charged with illegally paying women to come to the United States to give up their babies for adoption in three states. He faces human smuggling charges in Utah and Arkansas and is accused of defrauding Arizona’s Medicaid system.
His attorneys say Petersen ran a legal adoption practice and has been vilified before his side of the story comes out.