A woman from Washington was using Facebook as any other day, but suddenly one day she got quite a surprise when looking at one of the “friend suggestions” that Facebook offers based on mutual friends, interests and other things. She was looking at a woman with whom she had something in common: the husband!
The woman’s identity has still not been made public, so we’ll call her Wife A. She was using Facebook when she saw a picture of the other woman, let’s call her Wife B, suggested by Facebook as a potential friend. When she clicked to see the profile of the suggested friend, with whom she had her husband as mutual friend, she was in for a surprise! She saw pictures from a wedding where the woman was standing next to the wedding cake – along with Wife A’s estranged husband! So Wife A did what any sane person would do: She called the mother-in-law.
According to the court documents that was a very good strategy, because an hour later the defendant arrived at Wife A’s apartment. Court records show that she asked him several times if they divorced, he replied ‘No, we are still married’. He then begged her not to tell anyone about his double marriage and promised that he would correct the situation, but Wife A alerted the authorities and told them everything. As Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist told the Associated Press, “Facebook is now a place where people discover things about each other they end up reporting to law enforcement.”
According to the charges filed in Pierce County Court, Alan L. O’Neill married Wife A in 2001, moved out in 2009, and allegedly changed his name and remarried a year later, skipping the step of getting divorced from Wife A. Now he is charged with bigamy and facing up to a year in jail if convicted. O’Neill is not in jail, but is due in court later this month — standard procedure for non-violent crimes, Lindquist said. One would assume O’Neill would spend some of his remaining free time deleting his Facebook account.