At least 19 Marshallese women in Northwest Arkansas are in desperate need of immediate assistance after an Arizona lawyer falsified information about adoption plans for their soon-to-be-born children.

Paul D. Petersen — an adoption attorney from Mesa, Arizona — brought at least 19 pregnant women to Arkansas from the Marshall Islands, a former territory of the United States located in the central Pacific Ocean, under the assumption that their infants would be adopted by willing parents in the U.S.

Petersen was arrested Tuesday, Oct. 8 in Arizona, and faces 19 counts of illegally bringing pregnant women to the U.S. for adoptions, as well as 32 felony charges in Arizona, and 11 illegal adoption counts in Utah.

According to news reports, these women are in desperate need of financial support to help pay for their transportation and living expenses.

The Arkansas Conference for the United Methodist Church is accepting donations to support the Marshallese Mothers.

To donate online, visit bit.ly/arumc-donate and select Shared Beginnings for Marshallese Mothers, or send a check by mail to ARUMC c/o Marshallese Mothers, 800 W. Daisy Bates, Little Rock, AR, 72202.