An Indianapolis woman who beat her 7-year-old son with a coat hanger is citing Indiana's religious freedom law as a defense against felony child abuse charges, saying her choice of discipline comes straight from her evangelical Christian beliefs.
The woman quoted biblical Scripture in court documents. She said that a parent who "spares the rod, spoils the child," and: "Do not withhold discipline from a child; 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."
The alleged abuse occurred Feb. 3, according to court documents, when 30-year-old Kin Park Thaing said she stopped her son from dangerous behavior that would have seriously harmed his 3-year-old sister. Thaing, documents say, hit both children with a plastic coat hanger before telling them to pray for forgiveness.
"I was worried for my son's salvation with God after he dies," said Thaing, who attends a south-side church, according to court documents.
Thaing is charged with battery as a level 5 felony and neglect as a level 6 felony. Battery carries a prison sentence of one to 10 years; neglect carries a sentence of six months to 2½ years.
Marion Superior Court Judge Kurt Eisgruber denied Thaing's lawyer's motion to dismiss the charges on Aug. 18. Thaing's trial is set for Oct. 19.