INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis woman pleaded guilty Friday to beating her son with a coat hanger after earlier arguing Indiana's religious objection law gave her the right to discipline him according to her evangelical Christian beliefs.
Khin Par Thaing, 30, was sentenced to a year of probation after Marion County Superior Judge Kurt Eisgruber accepted a plea agreement in which she admitted committing battery when she struck the 7-year-old boy in February, the Indianapolis Star reported (http://indy.st/2eD4VFX ). She is accused of giving the boy 36 bruises and red welts.
Thaing's attorney in July cited Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, saying the state shouldn't interfere with Thaing's right to raise her children as she deems appropriate. She has said she stopped her son from dangerous behavior on Feb. 3 that would have seriously harmed his 3-year-old sister and hit both children with a plastic coat hanger before telling them to pray for forgiveness.
On Friday, Thaing and her attorney declined comment.
Thaing previously cited scripture in court documents, saying "do not withhold discipline from a child" and that she "was worried for my son's salvation with God after he dies."
Thaing is a refugee from Myanmar, a Southeast Asian nation also known as Burma, who was granted political asylum. She also cited cultural differences in her defense.
Prosecutors have said Indiana's compelling interest in preventing child abuse outweighs religious protections in state law.
Indiana's religious objections law, signed by Republican Gov. Mike Pence last year, prohibits government entities from substantially burdening religious liberties, unless by the least restrictive means to further a compelling government interest.
Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com