GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) A Grand Rapids man who took a bride while still married to his estranged first wife—and who is now charged with polygamy—says he “made a mistake.”
Richard Barton Jr., 34, who remains free from jail on personal recognizance after being arrested March 16, said, “I let love get in the way.”
Barton and his first wife, Adina Quarto, were married in 2004 after they met online. They have a 6-year-old son together.
Quarto, who lives in Rhode Island, got back in touch with him about a year ago on Facebook, mostly to tell him that their son had autism. When she learned he was engaged, they talked about a divorce but no action was ever taken.
Weeks later, she discovered that Barton had “defriended” her on Facebook. She managed to access part of his Facebook page and found photos of what appeared to be a wedding on the beach from last July.
“I put two and two together. They were definitely his wedding photos,” she said. “I was shocked. I didn’t think he would be so stupid as to get married without first getting a divorce.”
Quarto reached Barton and obtained promises of a divorce. “He told me I would receive papers in the mail and he just didn’t do it,” she said. When he kept ignoring her, she called police in Michigan.
“I didn’t think he deserved to get away with it,” Quarto said. “I’m not a bitter person and I’m not trying to destroy the guy. If he wants to start a new life, more power to him, but he got married when he shouldn’t have gotten married.”
According to state police, Barton told his new wife that he was divorced. Barton is charged in Muskegon County District Court with polygamy, a four-year felony.
(John Tunison writes for The Grand Rapids Press in Grand Rapids, Mich.)