Legal Insight on Polygamy: The Case of a Serial Bigamist in Texas

In a recent appearance on Houston’s FOX 26 series Crime Files, Ruby Bolton, a prominent Family Law specialist and founder of the Bolton Law Firm based in The Woodlands, TX, brought her considerable expertise to the fore in discussing a notable legal case involving polygamy.

With a legal career spanning over 26 years and a focus on Divorce and Family Law, Bolton’s insights into a recent bigamy case in Texas were both enlightening and imperative for understanding the legal and social implications of the actions.

A Case of Bigamy

Abigail Dye Fox 26 Crime Files

The case in question involved Orlando Coleman, a 51-year-old Houston man, who was sentenced to three years in prison for committing bigamy. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg highlighted the case as an example of deliberate deception for financial gain, using the church as a cover for fraudulent activities.

Coleman, presenting himself as a traveling bishop, exploited this guise to marry multiple women across states, with prosecutors believing he married at least 10 women in different jurisdictions.

The Sequence of Deceit

Coleman’s pattern of deception came to light after marrying a Houston woman in 2021, only for her to discover his existing marriage to a woman in Virginia since 2019. This discovery prompted an investigation by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, leading to bigamy charges.

Despite being placed on probation for bigamy, Coleman married yet another woman from Kentucky within two months, violating his probation terms and demonstrating a blatant disregard for the law and the welfare of the individuals involved.

Ruby’s Analysis

Ruby Bolton shares legal insights on polygamy

When asked by FOX 26’s Abigail Dye whether bigamy was legal anywhere in the country, Bolton provided a succinct and informative breakdown of the legal landscape.

“Multiple wives is called polygamy, multiple husbands is called polyandry, it’s a lot more rare. And both of them are completely illegal in the United States,” Ruby stated, emphasizing the clear stance of U.S. law on the matter.

Bolton continued, “There are countries where it is legal, and there are countries where it is still, in fact, very common. But here in the United States, not for 150 years or more.”

The Legal Framework of Polygamy

In Texas, bigamy is classified as a third-degree felony, with potential penalties extending up to 10 years in prison. Coleman’s case, resulting in a three-year prison sentence, underscores the seriousness with which the legal system treats such offenses, reflecting broader societal norms and legal standards against polygamy in the United States.

A Cautionary Tale

Assistant District Attorney Vanessa Goussen, who prosecuted the case, offered advice on exercising due diligence in personal relationships, highlighting the ease with which individuals can be deceived by those harboring ulterior motives.

Goussen’s remarks on the importance of vigilance underscore the broader implications of the case for public awareness and the necessity of legal recourse in instances of fraud and deception.


The case of Orlando Coleman not only highlights the complexities of family law but also serves as a stark reminder of the potential for exploitation within personal relationships.

Bolton’s contribution to the public discourse on this matter, through her appearance on FOX 26’s Crime Files and her ongoing legal practice, exemplifies the critical role of experienced legal professionals in addressing and resolving family law disputes. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, the insights and expertise of specialists like Bolton remain invaluable in guiding clients through the intricacies of the legal system and ensuring justice is served.