State official charged with bigamy, official misconduct

DOVER — A 64-year-old Delaware Transit Corporation human resources manager was charged with felony bigamy and misdemeanor official misconduct after investigation into an allegedly forged divorce decree led two women to believe they were married to him, according to court documents filed last week.

James I. Woodruff, of the 3000 block of Kenton Road in Dover, was arrested by Capitol Police on June 21, a probable cause affidavit showed. Other charges included felony first-degree tampering with public records and second-degree forgery, and misdemeanor offering a false instrument for filing.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Friday in the Kent County Court of Common Pleas in Dover.

Delaware Capitol Police Chief John E. Horsman referred all questions about the case to the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security, which declined comment.

An attempt to reach Mr. Woodruff for comment through the Delaware Department of Transportation – which oversees the DTC – was unsuccessful this week.

DelDOT spokesman Charles “C.R.” McLeod said “I can confirm that Mr. Woodruff is currently an employee of the Delaware Transit Corporation. We’re aware of the charges and have no further comment at this time.”

In an affidavit, a Capitol Police Special Investigations Unit officer said a forgery investigation commenced on May 26, 2017.

The alleged incident took place at Kent County Family Court, where the officer was told that “a petitioner for an annulment, found that the defendant James Woodruff had provided her with a forged divorce decree when (they) married in April 2016.”

Police received copies of divorce decrees with different names involved, according to papers.

“As a trained investigator your affiant was able to determine that the copy of the true and original decree had water marks throughout to prevent alterations, and the copy with (Mr. Woodruff’s) name on it appeared to have been altered in some way, then the names of (Mr. Woodruff) and his spouse superimposed.”

In court papers, police said Mr. Woodruff and the petitioner for annulment were co-workers, and the defendant was a human resources manager between 2014 and the discovery of the allegedly fraudulent document in January 2017.

“As HR manager, (Mr. Woodruff) had unrestricted access to personnel files of all (redacted) employees,” Capitol Police wrote.

Police said Mr. Woodruff was married on April 14, 2016 in Dover when he was still married to another woman. There was no official record of him divorcing his first wife, an investigation allegedly found.

According to police in papers, Mr. Woodruff allegedly began dating the co-worker sometime in mid-2015 after he had separated from his wife. He allegedly moved in with the co-worker, police said, and the co-worker said that in November 2015 “she moved (Woodruff) out of her house because he was not contributing to the household expenses, and she felt (he) was not taking positive steps to secure a divorce.”

In early April 2016, the co-worker told police in papers, Mr. Woodruff allegedly “produced … a divorce decree.”

According to police, the couple “secured a marriage license from the Kent County Clerk of the Peace using the supposedly forged decree.

“(The co-worker told police) she was unaware that the divorce decree was a forged document and believed (Mr. Woodruff) had secured a divorce …”

The co-worker told police that in January 2017 she told Mr. Woodruff “she was going to file for divorce and at that time (he) told her that she and (he) were not really married because the divorce decree he provided in April 2016 was forged.”

In a DTC report posted online, Mr. Woodruff was listed as part of the management team while serving as the Employment Services Manager.

The charges defined

Bigamy is a class G felony in Delaware Code and is described as “when the person contracts or purports to contract a marriage with another person knowing the person has a living spouse, or knowing the other person has a living spouse.”

Official misconduct is a class A misdemeanor and occurs when “A public servant is guilty of official misconduct when, intending to obtain a personal benefit or to cause harm to another person:

• The public servant commits an act constituting an unauthorized exercise of official functions, knowing that the act is unauthorized; or

• The public servant knowingly refrains from performing a duty which is imposed by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of the office; or

• The public servant performs official functions in a way intended to benefit the public servant’s own property or financial interests under circumstances in which the public servant’s actions would not have been reasonably justified in consideration of the factors which ought to have been taken into account in performing official functions; or

• The public servant knowingly performs official functions in a way intended to practice discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, age, handicapped status or According to Delaware Code, first-degree tampering with public records is a class E felony “when, with intent to defraud, and knowing that the person does not have the authority of anyone entitled to grant it, the person knowingly removes, mutilates, destroys, conceals, makes a false entry in or falsely alters any record or other written instrument filed with, deposited in or otherwise constituting a record of a public office or public servant.”

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