Police: Waiter Steps In to Help Abused Woman

WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Police say a quick-thinking employee at a restaurant near Wilkes-Barre took matters into his own hands, leading to the arrest of a man accused of beating his wife.

According to court papers, the wife was so badly bruised she could barely speak to make her order at Olive Garden earlier this week. The waiter knew he had to do something to help.

A trip to the Olive Garden in Wilkes-Barre Township led to assault charges Michael Balent, 34. Police say a waiter told his manager to call police after that waiter noticed Balent's wife had bruises all over her body.

People who help victims of domestic violence at Ruth's Place say that call could've saved that woman's life.

"A lot of the time, someone who is a victim of that kind of circumstance cannot speak for themselves. They can't get away from the person to speak for themselves or if they do speak for themselves, they run the risk of the repercussions from their abuser," said Crystal Williams, Ruth's Place.

Police believe Balent beat his wife at their home in Wilkes-Barre on Sunday because she wouldn't have sex. Then, court papers show when he took her out to eat the next day, her face still swollen.

She passed the waiter a note with her address when her husband went to the restroom.

People at Ruth's Place say the abuse could've gotten worse if the waiter didn't step in.

"Women are murdered by their abusers on a regular basis so getting them out of that situation is super important," Williams said.

According to court papers, the woman told police she wanted to call for help immediately after the abuse but Balent was keeping a close eye on her and she couldn't get away.

"Abuse just escalates over time and the ending is someone losing their life."

But if there's one message people at Ruth's Place want to send to women who are abused it's this.

"A lot of times women who are victims of domestic abuse will return to the relationship. It doesn't matter how many times you've gone back, every time you step away is another chance for you to be free."

Balent is free after making $25,000 bail.

We talked to the manager at Olive Garden, but the company said he couldn't speak with us.

 

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