Indianapolis woman accused of beating son and citing RFRA as a defense pleads guilty

Picture on left is mug shot of Khin Par Thaing, picture on right is boy’s bruised back which was used as evidence filed in Marion Superior Court (courtesy of the IndyStar)

Picture on left is mug shot of Khin Par Thaing, picture on right is boy’s bruised back which was used as evidence filed in Marion Superior Court (courtesy of the IndyStar)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An Indianapolis woman who cited RFRA and quoted the Bible as defense for beating her son with a coat hanger pleaded guilty Friday morning.

Khin Par Thaing was arrested in February on several charges including battery on a person less than 14 years old and neglect of a dependent.

She allegedly beat her 7-year-old son with a coat hanger, leaving 36 bruises and red welts.

Her attorney argued in court that the state shouldn’t interfere with her right to raise her children as she deems appropriate. He cited the Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and Thaing cited biblical scripture in her defense.

“Do not withhold discipline from a child,” Thaing said in court documents that the IndyStar obtained. “If you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.”

Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Matt Savage said in a response on August 5 that the boy’s beating went “beyond these religious instructions.”

Earlier this month, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the neglect charge if Thaing agreed to plead guilty to battery. She will receive a sentence of one year of probation, and the felony conviction will be dropped if she successfully completes the probation, the IndyStar reports.

Marion Superior Judge Kurt Eisgruber agreed to the terms of the plea deal this morning.

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