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BINGO at the root of domestic abuse case

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The 32-year old man who is accused of assaulting his wife inside their home in Aua while he was heavily intoxicated told police that he wanted to discipline his wife, because she mouths off to him in front of people.

 The defendant spent one night at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) before making his initial appearance in District Court this week, where he entered a not guilty plea to the two misdemeanor charges against him.

The government has charged the defendant with third degree assault and public peace disturbance. He was released on his own recognizance by Judge Fiti Sunia subject to the condition that he find another place to stay, and refrain from trying to make any contact with his wife.

The case was reported to police by the victim’s sister, who noticed bruises on the victim’s facial area early Monday morning. When the sister inquired about what happened, the victim said her husband beat her but she didn't want to report it because she's afraid of losing him.

According to the court affidavit, the man and his wife have two young children and he is the only person in the family who works.

When questioned by police, the victim said she doesn't blame her husband for what he did to her because he provides money for their children’s food but she uses it to play Bingo and pay for her bonus lucky numbers every week.

The government claims the alleged incident occurred Sunday night after the man heard from neighbors that there are nights when his wife leaves their kids in the care of one of their neighbors so she can go play Bingo. The defendant is a cannery employee who works the night shift.

The court affidavit notes that when the defendant confronted his wife about the money on Sunday night, the wife admitted that she used some of the money to play Bingo and pay for her Bonus numbers. The defendant then left the house and returned home very intoxicated while his wife and children were asleep. It was then that the man allegedly assaulted his wife.

The next morning, the victim's sister reported the matter to police and the defendant was arrested and charged.