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Production of ABC's 'Wife Swap' halted after dad arrested for child abuse

By Wade Paulsen, 03/28/2005 

On March 22, the production of an upcoming episode of ABC's Wife Swap reality show came to a halt when the film crew turned in the father of one of the participating families for suspected child abuse. Yanni Panagiotakis, 38, a Nashville restauranteur, was alleged to have struck his 13-year-old daughter in the face during filming. He was later charged with domestic assault and freed Wednesday morning on $1,000 bail.

As reported by the Nashville Tennessean, Yanni was drving his daughter to a friend's house in one car, while a four-person camera crew followed in another car. When the Wife Swap crew arrived, it noticed that the daughter had "obvious injuries" to her nose and cheek. According to police, she then told the crew that her father had struck her several times in the face with his fist for forgetting to bring her coat.

After talking to the girl, the Wife Swap crew took the girl to a local doctor's office for treatment and to a hospital for X-rays. The Tennessean reported that a police affidavit said the girl had a ''busted'' and bruised nose and a bruised and swollen right check. When she was released from the hospital, the crew moved the girl and her 9-year-old brother to a hotel, where they were joined by a representative from the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

At the same time, production of the other part of the episode, which paired Yanni's wife Dina (who co-owns the family restaurant with her husband) with a family in California, was halted, and Dina returned to Nashville. According to its producers, production of the Wife Swap episode will be abandoned.


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