December 21, 2014

Elyria
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30°F
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Once, twice, three times a husband


Newlywed apparently had two spouses already

ELYRIA — Doris Diggs married James Bouyer on Sept. 15 in Newport News, Va.

CHUCK HUMEL / CHRONICLE
James Bouyer (right) appeared Tuesday before Judge David J. Berta for a divorce hearing accompanied by his daughter Pamela.

The problem is Bouyer was already married and seeking a divorce before Lorain County Domestic Relations Judge David Berta, who ordered the 62-year-old Elyrian arrested Tuesday on contempt charges.

Even worse for Bouyer?

He apparently was married to another woman even before the 1966 marriage he was trying to end, at least according to records turned up by Berta’s staff after yet another woman, Deborah Williams, who called herself Bouyer’s “special friend” of eight years, sent Berta a letter making the allegation.

Bouyer denied any wrongdoing when he appeared before Berta, saying he was told by an attorney that as long as he had filed for a divorce from his current wife — Annie Bouyer, whom he has been separated from for 17 years and who lives in Alabama — he could get remarried. He denied ever hearing of the woman he’s accused of marrying before Annie Bouyer.

“I never married no Tammy Bouyer. I never knew her,” he said.

But Magistrate James Paterson said he conducted a records check that showed a man with Bouyer’s name, date of birth and Social Security number had been married even before Annie Bouyer.

One of Bouyer’s three children, Pamela Bouyer, who accompanied him to court, said her father had been married only to Annie Bouyer.

“They’ve been married all my life,” she said. “I don’t know Tammy.”

Berta also questioned why on his Virginia marriage license application, Bouyer claimed he was a widower, even though Annie Bouyer is alive. Bouyer insisted that he hadn’t done that. When he was shown a copy of his marriage license with an X next to the “widowed” box, Bouyer said he may have made a mistake when he filled out the application for his license.

“I wouldn’t stand here and lie in front of my daughter,” he said.

Berta told Bouyer that there were only two ways he could have gotten remarried, and he didn’t qualify for either of them.

“If she’s not deceased and you’re not divorced, you’re still married,” he said.

Paterson said he forwarded the case to Elyria police on Tuesday to check into Bouyer’s marital status. If Bouyer has more than one wife, he could be charged with bigamy, a misdemeanor in Ohio that could send him to jail for six months.

“He’s at least got two wives and we’re going to figure out what’s going on with Tammy,” Paterson said.

If the marriage to Tammy Bouyer — whoever she is — ends up being real, Paterson said the uncontested divorce case before Berta would become moot because legally the marriage was never valid, just as Bouyer’s marriage to Doris Diggs isn’t legal.

But if the Tammy Bouyer marriage isn’t real, Paterson said the divorce could move forward before Berta.

“If he was never married to Tammy we can divorce him on this and we can let the Virginia authorities deal with this,” Paterson said.In the meantime, Bouyer is due back in court Friday.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.