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The Journal Gazette

Friday, June 07, 2019 3:40 pm

Former Bengals lineman faces assault charges

FILI SAGAPOLUTELE | Associated Press

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa -- Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Jonathan Fanene faces charges he used a pipe, golf club and broom handle to assault his wife and his sister about allegations he had an extramarital affair while on a trip to Hawaii, according to court documents filed this week.

Fanene has been charged in the district court of American Samoa with eight felonies, including kidnapping and assault, and five misdemeanors. He has been released on $100,000 bail and will appear in court next week.

Defense lawyer Marcellus Talaimalo Uiagalelei, who declined to comment to the Associated Press on Thursday, will decide then whether Fanene continues with a preliminary hearing at the district court level or opts to have the case heard in the High Court of American Samoa.

Fanene played for the University of Utah and was drafted by the Bengals in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL draft. He played seven seasons for the Bengals and started 10 games in 2009. He played for New England in 2012, but he was released after being injured in training camp.

He has been serving as director of the American Samoa Department of Youth and Women's Affairs since 2014, but has lost his job.

"Based on the information I received from the Police Commission, my decision is to terminate Mr. Fanene," American Samoa's acting governor, Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga, told the AP late Wednesday.

An acting director has already been named, and Mauga expected Fanene's termination letter to be mailed Thursday or Friday.

Mauga said he made the decision after reviewing the files and photos of Fanene's wife from the investigation.

The incident is alleged to have occurred May 26 and been witnessed by the couple's 9-year-old son, who told police his father told him to grab "the bat," according to court documents. When the boy couldn't find one, he brought a pipe, golf club and broom handle.

The son then saw his father "use these objects to assault" his mother and aunt, the affidavit says.

"He beat them as hard as he can. ... My mom told him to stop, in a crying way," the son is quoted in the affidavit, telling a police investigator.

Police said the wife suffered multiple contusions covering an area from her shoulders to ankles on one side of her body. She also sustained injuries to her buttocks, the upper portion of both arms and her lips, court documents say.

His wife filed a criminal complaint against Fanene on May 29. She allegedly told police she was informed by her sister-in-law that Fanene was seen in Hawaii with another woman and that Fanene had a "hickey" on his neck.