Facebook Friend Suggestion Gets Man Charged With Bigamy

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on March 12, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Facebook's "People You May Know" feature can at times be obnoxious. But other than suggesting high school classmates you never want to see again, it remains pretty harmless, right?

Wrong. Alan O'Neill is probably wishing he never signed up for the social networking service. The Washington state corrections officer faces felony bigamy charges after Facebook suggested his first wife friend his second wife.

He apparently forgot to divorce the first one.

The first wife became aware of the situation after noticing a strange Facebook friend suggestion, explains CNET. She clicked on the woman's profile and began looking through her profile photos. One depicted the woman with O'Neill and they appeared to be standing by a wedding cake.

Though the estranged pair hadn't seen each other in three years, they never divorced. Knowing this, the first wife did what she had to -- she called O'Neill's mother.

It seems he had changed his name to Alan Fulk and soon after married the second woman. He promised to sort it out, but CNET reports when it didn't happen, his first wife called the cops.

Though it's not the worst of crimes, prosecutors have still chosen to bring charges, explains the News Tribune. Under bigamy laws, it's illegal to intentionally or knowingly marry a second person while still legally married to another. Part of the reason for the prohibition is duplicity -- bigamy implies that the marriages are kept separate and remain a secret.

This is exactly what Alan O'Neill was doing. And strangely, if it wasn't for Facebook, no one would have known he was doing it.

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