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Texas officer accused of saying "I do" after he already did

A veteran of the Houston Police Department is out of a job and under investigation after being accused of bigamy. The 34-year-old homicide detective may have married his third wife before a divorce from his second marriage was finalized.

Internal police investigators are reviewing the evidence and legal issues surrounding the allegations. The 11-year Texas police officer faces serious criminal charges if it is proven he was knowingly married to two women at the same time.

Investigators want to know if the detective was aware he was not divorced at the time of his third marriage. A spouse who remarries while believing a previous marriage was ended through annulment, death or divorce can be absolved of a bigamy charge.

The dismissed police officer first married in Harris County in 2002. The marriage ended in divorce in 2008. According to court papers, the detective remarried in 2010. The officer's 24-year-old wife then filed for divorce in May 2011, citing cruel treatment and adultery. The wife claimed her husband moved in with another woman.

One month after the divorce petition was filed, a Florida marriage was recorded between the detective and a third woman. The address of the third wife matched the Houston address mentioned in the divorce petition, the residence where the husband moved after leaving his second wife.

The detective's second divorce was finalized last month.

An attorney from the Houston Police Officers' Union, representing the dismissed detective, claims she does not know the officer's marital status. The bigamy charge is the eighth complaint against the HPD detective. Other charges included failing to show up in court and questionable conduct.

This is a complicated issue, and the officer should be consulting with a family law attorney in addition to his union representative.

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

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