A city commissioner from Kalamazoo, Michigan, says she will change her name following the impending finalization of her divorce. Her husband is in prison after being found guilty on a number of sex crime charges, but it does not appear the charges themselves were directly responsible for the couple's divorce. "We did not leave one another," she argued. "The state of Michigan came in and separated the two of us. And because he's living in one place and I'm living in another, it created an unhealthy marriage." She says the divorce is an amicable one.
The commissioner's soon-to-be ex-husband was convicted on three counts of producing child pornography, one count of furnishing obscenity to a minor, one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, four counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and nine counts of sexual assault. The man was accused of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a special-education student at the high school where he worked as a paraprofessional.
Although the commissioner would not comment on the details of the case, she explained that she would continue to support her husband without judgment concerning innocence or guilt. She added that she continues to support his children and regularly visits him in prison, noting that she will continue her friendship with him despite their divorce.
The commissioner said the ordeal has been difficult, prompting her to start a group to support women recovering from traumatic situations. However, she says that this has only improved her leadership ability, allowing her to better represent the citizens of Kalamazoo. "It's strengthened me so that I can in turn help and work with other women," she explained. "I realized I wasn't alone. I realized that there's things that are happening in homes and families that are painful."
Source: Mlive.com, "Kalamazoo City Commissioner Stephanie Bell changing last name back to Moore with divorce almost finalized," Emily Monacelli, Kalamazoo Gazette, Nov. 23, 2012