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Pierce County corrections officer pleads guilty to attempted bigamy, gets suspended sentence

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on Sep. 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
September 13, 2012 3:57 pm

An “embarrassed and remorseful” Pierce County corrections officer pleaded guilty today to one count of attempted bigamy in a case that gained some notoriety because wife No. 1 learned of wife No. 2 through Facebook.

Alan O’Neill, 42, received a suspended sentence from Superior Court Beverly Grant. O’Neill will be on probation for one year. The charge is a gross misdemeanor.

His future employment as a county jailer remains up in the air. O’Neill currently is on unpaid leave. Sheriff Paul Pastor, who oversees the jail, will be evaluating the results of an internal affairs investigation before deciding whether to allow O’Neill to come back to work, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

Prosecutors charged O’Neill in March with one count of bigamy after his first wife learned of his second wife through a Facebook “people you may know” notification and alerted authorities.

O’Neill’s lawyer, Philip Thornton, told Grant his client trusted a neighbor to process his divorce through Lincoln County but that the neighbor did not file the paperwork.

“Mr. O’Neill failed to follow through on that,” Thornton said.

O’Neill since has gotten his marriage to his second wife annulled and is in the process of divorcing his first, Thornton said.

“He is extremely embarrassed and remorseful,” Thornton said.

O’Neill, who was accompanied to court by the second woman he married, told Grant he never meant to commit a crime.

“I’ve never done anything intentionally wrong in my life,” he said.

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