ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A South Korean woman thought she was living a fairytale when she married an American Army sergeant near Seoul.
But she soon learned he was hiding a dark secret: Master Sgt. Scott Fuller already had a wife and kids in Rockland County.
CBS2’s Lou Young was on the trail of betrayal as he knocked on the door of one wronged military spouse in Rockland Friday, and spoke with the attorneys of another.
The women live on opposite ends of the world, but are linked together by Fuller. One the dutiful wife and mother of two back home, and the other a newly wed in a cruel game of deception.
“He was officially married in Korea, so this is not a mistake or miscommunication,” said attorney Dungho Song. “He forged the document…If you’re not single, you cannot marry in Korea.”
And this isn’t a unique situation. Lawyers told Young U.S. military bigamy cases are active all over the world, and complain the response is too often to pay-off the victim and quietly reassign the offending service member.
“What they try to do is get that person out of the country, discharge them and then offer some kind of monetary compensation,” said attorney Howard Meyerowitz.
In this case, new spouse Rachel Lee is seeking $50,000 in compensation, and Sgt. Fuller’s family in Rockland gets to keep their military benefits.
A solution, Lee’s attorneys said, that ignores some very real crimes.
“Bigamy, forgery, submitting false documents, getting a false ID for his wife because she wasn’t a wife and giving her access to the U.S. military base — all of that is prosecutable,” Meyerowitz said.
Not to mention the emotional wreckage on both sides.
“Still now, her family does not know,” said attorney Stacey Chung. “(Young: This is a matter of great shame for her?) Absolutely, absolutely.”
Sgt. Fuller was honorably discharged from the Army at Fort Drum last week, Young reported.
CBS2’s requests for comment from the Army went unanswered.