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Allegations of Official Misconduct

Iowa County Official Arrested for Same-Sex Marriage Forgery

Grundy County Iowa Deputy Clerk of Court Brigett Van Nice ArrestedThe Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation announced Thursday that agents arrested Grundy County Deputy Clerk of Court Brigitte Van Nice on charges she allegedly forged signatures on an Iowa marriage certificate she filed in Grundy County on Feb 15 2012.

According to court documents, Van Nice filed a marriage certificate on February 15, 2012 with the Grundy County Recorder's Office which attested to Van Nice having performed a marriage ceremony for two Florida men who wanted to be married. At the time she filed the marriage certificate she told the County Recorder staff that she had performed the marriage of Joab Penney and Joseph Parker at a local truck stop in Waterloo the day before and Penney and Parker had arranged for the witnesses. She was paid $150 for her services.

Authorities say the marriage ceremony attested to by Van Nice did not take place and the two witnesses she listed did not sign the document, but were forged by Van Nice without their permission.

The investigation revealed that Van Nice received her ordination in June 2011 from an online ordination website described as Open Ministry.com. Investigators allege Van Nice began corresponding with Penny and Parker in the later part of December 2011 about the possibility of attaining an Iowa marriage certificate if they were unable to come to Iowa.

Van Nice was booked into the Grundy County jail at on Wednesday and was quickly released after posting bond. She was given an initial appearance date of October 22, 2012.

In an effort to avoid any perceived conflict of interest, the Grundy County Attorney’s Office referred the case to the Marshall County Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

In addition to the two felony forgery charges, Van Nice is also facing charges of felony perjury for falsely attesting to a marriage.

Upon her arrest the 42 year old Deputy Clerk of Court was placed on paid administrative leave from the Grundy County Clerk’s Office.

Source: Complaint and Affidavit filed in Iowa District Court for Grundy County


Posted 10-19-12

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