Sunday, February 16, 2020

Maricopa County Assessor Resigns, Under Prosecution for Human Trafficking. But the Facts May Say Otherwise.

You’ve successfully conducted adoptions since 2005. But suddenly, in 2019, prosecutors come after you, claiming you are engaging in human trafficking. What drastically changed over 14 years? This is the nightmare that has happened to Paul Petersen, who until January 7 was the Maricopa County Assessor in Arizona.

Petersen was pressured into resigning his position after prosecutors got him indicted for bringing women from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. to give birth, then give their babies up for adoption. The prosecution says it’s illegal human trafficking. Prosecutors in Arizona, Utah and Arkansas are seeking federal and state charges against him.

But what is really going on? The media is only reporting the prosecution’s side, leaving out the full picture. The media says it’s against the law to bring babies for adoption from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. unless it goes through the Central Adoption Authority, which is an entity of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. But they don’t bother reporting that this law only applies to babies that are already born; a fetus in the womb doesn’t constitute a person under the statute.

The media also reports that Petersen told the women to lie to U.S. Customs about the real reason they were entering the country. According to Petersen’s wife Raquel this is not true. The women generally weren’t asked their purpose, and not about pregnancy.

The federal government is charging Petersen with aiding and abetting the entry of an illegal alien. But the women are allowed to be here without a visa; they’re not illegal immigrants. When Petersen brought them through customs, they were approved. The state of Utah is charging him with sale of a child — but what do you think adoption is?

Petersen would fly the women to Phoenix or other locations where they would stay in a home while pregnant. He paid them $1,000 per month and provided them with food, travel and cell phone payments. The women were promised up to $10,000 to allow Petersen to adopt out their babies.
The young Marshallese women were eager to come to the U.S. to find a better living for themselves and their babies. Many of them already had family in the U.S. How can you traffic a person if they want to move to the U.S.? The media also falsely claims that the women returned to the Marshall Islands after giving birth. This is not true. Most of them remained in the U.S., and many came back to Petersen with later pregnancies, asking for more assistance with adoption. The mothers looked up to Petersen like a big brother, who they could trust to find a good adoptive family.

The mothers would speak up and defend Petersen, but the prosecution has instilled fear in them so they don’t dare say anything. Instead, out of hundreds of adoptions Petersen completed, the prosecution found a handful of mothers to speak negatively about him. This is a normal number considering the number of adoptions he conducted.

Marshallese women keep texting him asking him to handle new adoptions, but the prosecution has prohibited him from responding. Meanwhile, judges are approving his existing adoptions — if they’re illegal, then why are they getting approved?

Of course, some of the independent contractors working for him may have filled out the wrong forms, having gotten bad advice from the hospitals on how to fill out forms. The hospitals are interested in turning a profit.

The media said text messages were found on Petersen’s county-issued laptop trying to talk some of the women out of reconsidering their adoptions. This is inaccurate. Petersen used FB Messenger on his personal cell phone, not on the county laptop. But since he was logged onto Facebook on his county laptop, prosecutors interpreted this to mean the messages were exchanged there. Facebook Messenger is how the Marshallese women conduct 80% of their communications. Regardless, the county policies restricting personal use on county equipment doesn’t apply to elected officials — yet another fact the media left out.

The Maricopa County Supervisors placed him on administrative leave after he was indicted, citing his inability to do his job. But the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, which is prosecuting him, issued a report which said he was doing his job at a high level; the assessor’s work was being done. He had no complaints from higher management. Although he was placed in jail for three weeks, three of the supervisors had been gone longer on vacations than he’d been imprisoned.

The media claims he threatened the women with eviction. They never bothered to report that this did not come from Petersen. What happened was one of the women was still living in one of his residences after she said she didn’t want to give the baby up for adoption, so his assistant told her she needed to move out.

The government treated Petersen like a sleazy criminal when law enforcement arrested him. On October 8, authorities arrested Petersen after raiding his home. In November, they seized $1.5 million of his assets and froze his bank accounts. This is bizarre considering the government claims the alleged Medicaid fraud cost the agency about half that, $800,000. Without access to his bank accounts, Petersen can’t pay to defend himself. He can’t do anything with his official residence. He has nothing. Petersen has to get approval from the Arizona Attorney General to sell anything. He is restricted from practicing law. He has four young kids he needs to support.

The reality is, most of the population doesn’t agree with civil forfeiture. There is currently a bill being considered in the Arizona State Legislature that would restrict civil forfeiture to post-conviction.

Petersen’s co-defendant, Lynwood Jennet, has agreed to testify against him in exchange for a plea agreement. She will go to prison for two to four years and pay nearly $1 million in restitution due to Medicaid fraud. Jennet is Marshallese and acted as an intermediary between Petersen and the birth mothers. Raquel Peterson said she has nothing bad to say about Jennet; she was a close family friend. She’s sadly collateral damage.

In addition to human trafficking, charges against Petersen include seven counts of wire fraud, five counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Those types of crimes are generally piled on to create the appearance that a defendant is a really bad actor. In reality, they are merely process crimes, normal things the defendant was doing in the process of the main crime he’s charged with, such as using the telephone. This can be evidence that the prosecution is targeting someone and throwing the book at them in order to conduct a sensational trial and teach others a lesson.

One man who adopted three Marshallese babies through the help of Petersen told ABC 15 that he did not believe it was human trafficking. “There are no women who have been forced to do anything that they didn’t want to do. This isn’t anything close to trafficking, in any way shape or form.” He declined to be identified. He had nothing but praise for Petersen, “It may look bad from the outside, but he’s doing them a service or favor by helping them get out of a predicament that they would otherwise not want to be in.”

It appears that prosecutors criminalized a legitimate business Petersen ran. Let’s hope Petersen’s attorneys are able to get the facts out adequately to the jury so he gets a fair trial. The mainstream media should be ashamed of itself for not reporting the full story. Adoption is a wonderful thing, it should not be criminalized and treated the same as human trafficking.

Reprinted from Townhall

Two Arizona School Districts Promoting Racial Divisions and Social Justice

Two school districts in the Phoenix, Arizona area have implemented educational programs promoting racial divisions and social justice. The two programs attack students on the basis of their skin color and other characteristics. Chandler Unified School District passed the equity and inclusion initiative in February 2018. Kyrene School District also implemented it. Word has gotten out on how awful these programs are. On November 8, Fox News host Tucker Carlson aired a piece on one of the two programs, called Deep Equity. Carlson described the teaching this way, “America is based on a hierarchy of various oppressions: men oppress women, Christianity oppresses Islam, English oppresses Spanish, white people oppress everyone.”

There is also the Youth Equity Stewardship, or YES! program. Topics include social justice, “lenses of diversity” and “equality to equity to borderless.” That last one references Nican Tlaca, a term used by proponents of a borderless society in which indigenous peoples rule. One of the lessons is on the “white man’s dollar.” There is a hip hop song entitled Music Voice Message Movement which slams capitalism, “ economic system that’s flawed from the start. It has no heart.”

Corwin, the vendor behind the programs, states on its website, “This series engages students in a process of understanding their personal journey and social accountability through a critical social justice lens and creating a living example of commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.” One parent in the Chandler school district observed, “Essentially, students and teachers are being taught anti-white, anti-Christian hate. Students are taught to lecture adults about their biases. They are being taught to be social justice activists.”

The programs also teach “intersectionality.” Michael Rectenwald, a former professor at New York University who now speaks out about the left’s agenda, says intersectionality is merely a replacement for Marxism, and is very similar to it. The Epoch Times explains, “Through the lens of intersectional theory, human history is largely reduced to white Christian men being the ‘oppressors,’ and everybody else being ‘intersected’ by one or more layers of this ‘oppression.’”

Many parents took notice and started urging the school boards to reconsider using Corwin due to its leftist activism. Before winter break, CUSD superintendent Dr. Camille Casteel sent out an email stating that the district was going to cease using Corwin by the end of the semester. However, the school district intends to continue promoting some of the agenda, such as “trans inclusion.”

In that school district, employees are going after parents who complain, and reporting their social media posts in order to get them removed. Purple for Parents is a group that formed in response to the Red for Ed movement. The latter seeks to increase public school funding but also involves students in the effort. Purple for Parents is concerned about fiscal costs and the indoctrination of students. Their members have been actively objecting to the Deep Equity and YES! programs.

One of the Chandler district’s governing board members, Lindsay Love, tweeted a couple of weeks ago, “@splcenter [The Southern Poverty Law Center] should be looking into Purple for Parents as a hate group.” Another post by activists called Purple for Parents a “white supremacist hate group.” Love also tweeted, “I’m glad it happened. Now people can see Purple for Parents real aim. Racism.” This was apparently in response to a parody Twitter account that was created mocking her radicalism.
But Purple for Parents is not a white supremacist group. One of its most active members, Michelle Dillard, is Asian. She has been quite vocal criticizing the programs.

Love tweeted out the name of the employer of critic Scott Weinberg, doxxing him. “This guy Scott is an AHCCCS investigator btws.” The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System is Arizona’s Medicaid agency. She went on, “There are anger management classes too. Maybe he should consult AHCCCS about that too.” She added, “Just figured I’d share that because he might be stalking and harassing my family and others on AHCCCS time and with AHCCCS resources.” She admitted that she provided people with an organizational chart so they could contact his management. Love continued slamming Weinberg in many more tweets, and tried to get him banned from Twitter.
These radical proponents are also harassing critics at the school board meetings. They want to shut down their opposition so they can ram the programs through.

Chandler has 24 schools, and 17 have scored in the 70s or lower on the AzMerit test. In Kyrene, 22 of its 25 schools have scores that low. AzMerit tests math and English. The founder of the Arizona People’s Lobbyist, Jose Borrajero, asked why we spend so many dollars “implementing culturally responsive teaching practices? What ever happened to the concept that schools should teach material that will enable students to learn what they need to become productive members of society, instead of engaging in social engineering?”

For more information, check out the contentious videos on the Purple for Parents’ YouTube channel.

Reprinted from Townhall