Wife doubts PTSD bigamy excuse

May 21, 2009 at 3:57 PM
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INDEPENDENCE, Mo., May 21 (UPI) -- A Missouri woman whose husband was cleared of bigamy said she does not believe his claim that post-traumatic stress disorder made him forget his marriage.

Marcella Rivera of Independence said her husband, William, left her and their five children before serving in the Iraq war but they discussed reconciling after he returned from serving and their divorce case was dismissed, KCTV, Kansas City, Mo., reported Thursday.

Rivera said she was shocked when her husband appeared in a 2008 Valentine's Day TV special that featured his marriage to another woman.

Criminal bigamy charges were filed against William Rivera, but Marcella Rivera said she discovered Friday they were dismissed after his lawyer argued the defendant suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. The lawyer said the condition caused his client to forget he was still married to his first wife.

"I guess if I truly believe in my heart that he didn't know, then OK, yes, he has PTSD and he didn't know. Iraq totally messed him up. But I know he knew he was married because we had discussed it," she said. "There are real soldiers suffering from PTSD and he's using that as a crutch."

Claude Guidry of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center said memory loss is one of the major symptoms of PTSD.

William Rivera is currently legally married to both women.

"That's what gets me, that he got over on the system. And I don't think that's right," Marcella Rivera said.

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