A 29-year-old Villa Hills man has been charged with bigamy for allegedly not getting a divorce or waiting for the until-death-do-us-part part before re-marrying. Jeremiah Travis Scudder, who is free on his own recognizance, had his initial appearance in Kenton District Court Friday. Bigamy is a felony punishable by one year to five years in prison.
From his home where he lives with his second wife, Scudder said Friday afternoon that he was in the process of filing for divorce from his first wife. He said he hopes that will allow authorities to dismiss the bigamy charge at his May 7 preliminary hearing. “To be totally honest, I didn’t know bigamy laws were still on the books,” Scudder said.
Authorities got suspicious after Scudder told his probation officer that he had been married twice but the official couldn’t find a record of him ever getting a divorce in Kentucky, according to the criminal complaint.
He married Constance Holden nine years ago in Campbell County and Teri Mae Hutchinson Aug. 20 in Kenton County, according to court records.
Scudder’s first wife, whom he has a son with, told investigators that they separated in May and never divorced.
Scudder said it was “childish and stupid” not to get the divorce and he regrets the trouble it has caused.
Kenton Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders said it might not sound like the “crime of the century,” but bigamy involves a lot of hassle with everyone involved when it comes to things like filing taxes, trying to buy or sell property and obtaining credit.
“It is akin to identity theft in the complications it causes in one’s financial affairs,” he said.
It is only the second bigamy case Sanders remembers in Kenton County. The first was in 1999 when Barbara Moore was convicted for being married to three men at once. Her first husband tipped police, and they arrested Moore right after her third wedding. Her three-year sentence was conditionally discharged if she completed several requirements, including divorcing her first two husbands, according to a court clerk.
Similar to parole, conditional discharge requires offenders to comply with certain provisions in exchange for not serving time in prison.
Moore never got the divorces and is currently wanted by authorities.
By Jim Hannah of Cincinnati.com