A Washington woman got quite a surprise when Facebook’s “People You May Know” feature reportedly recommended a potential contact. The two women certainly had something in common: a husband.
The woman’s identity has remained anonymous, so we will call her Wife 1. She was perusing the popular social networking site when she says she saw the other woman, who we will call Wife 2, suggested by Facebook as a person she may know. She clicked on the woman’s profile and saw photos of the woman standing next to a wedding cake — along with Wife’s 1 estranged husband. That’s when Wife 1 did what any logical person would do: She called her mother-in-law.
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The court documents show that it was an effective strategy. As reported in USA Today, “An hour later the defendant arrived at [Wife No. 1's] apartment, and she asked him several times if they were divorced,” court records show. “The defendant said, ‘No, we are still married.’” He then begged her not to tell anyone about the dual marriage and promised that he would correct the situation, but Wife 1 alerted the authorities. 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 1 in 2001, moved out in 2009, and allegedly changed his name and remarried a year later, skipping the step of getting divorced from Wife 1. 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.