A deputy clerk of court in Grundy County has been charged with two counts of forgery and one count of perjury for allegedly filing the paperwork for a same-sex marriage that never happened.
D.C.I. special agent, Larry Hedlund, says 42-year-old Brigitte Van Nice of Grundy Center is facing the felony charges.
“The charges have to do with the falsification allegedly of a marriage certificate related to a marriage that didn’t actually take place,” Hedlund says.
The complaint in the case says Van Nice was ordained on-line by “Open Ministry.com”, and had corresponded with two men in Florida who were seeking to get married in Iowa.
Van Nice filed a marriage certificate in Grundy County on February 15th of this year, but Hedlund says the ceremony never took place. “The two gentlemen never came to Iowa, my understanding is they’ve never been in the state of Iowa, at least not at the same time,” Hedlund explains.
Court documents say Van Nice told the Grundy County Recorder’s staff that she met the two men at a truck stop in Waterloo and they had lined up witnesses for the wedding. Van Nice received $150 from the two men for the ceremony.
Hedlund says they investigated the case after getting a call from Florida. “One of the gentlemen apparently reached out to an attorney in Florida seeking a divorce,” Hedlund says. “The attorney obviously as part of his duties did some research and found out the men had not been to Iowa and that was a problem. That’s how the investigation go started.”
The investigation determined that Van Nice signed the names of two witnesses listed on the documents requesting the marriage license. Van Nice was placed on administrative leave from the clerk of court’s office. She was booked into the Grundy County jail Wednesday and was released after posting bond. Van Nice is scheduled to appear in court on October 22nd.
The case has been turned over to the Marshall County Attorney’s Office for prosecution to avoid and conflict of interest for the Grundy County Attorney.