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Officer under investigation for bigamy

A Texas man who married just three weeks after his previous wife served him with divorce papers has been removed from his job as a police officer pending a criminal investigation.

Officials at the man's police department said the 34-year-old investigator is the subject of a criminal investigation without elaborating. His lawyer, whom he obtained through his police union, said a bigamy investigation was underway by the internal affairs division.

The man, who is a homicide investigator, has been the subject of seven prior internal affairs reports.

At issue in this case is the man's third marriage. He was married once from 2002 to 2008. He and his second wife wed in 2010, and she filed divorce papers on May 25, 2011. She said in her filing that he was a cruel husband who had an affair.

On June 17, 2011, the man married a Texas woman in Florida. The address given by the woman matched the address the man's wife provided for him in her divorce filings. She said in her paperwork that he had moved in with another woman.

Texas law states that people can defend themselves against bigamy claims if they can prove they had reason to believe they weren't legally married. To do that, they would have to show they were confident a previous marriage had been terminated by death or divorce or that an annulment had been granted.

In this case, the man and his second wife were not legally divorced until Jan. 20 of this year, seven months after the man wed the third woman, according to court records. Bigamy can be a serious allegation in a divorce, and can affect custody, support and property division. If one is unknowingly married to someone with another spouse, the revelation could help them in a divorce filing.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Houston officer relieved of duty after bigamy allegations," James Pinkerton and Anita Hassan, Jan. 27, 2012

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