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Indiana Woman Uses RFRA Laws To Justify Beating Her Child

The beating was bad enough, but shielding it with religious freedom laws is simply wrong.
Indiana Woman Uses RFRA Laws To Justify Beating Her Child

An Indiana woman was arrested and charged with felony child abuse after she left over 30 bruises on his body from a beating with a plastic coat hanger.

According to a report by IndyStar, Burmese refugee Kin Park Thaing, was arrested after a teacher discovered 36 deep bruises and welts on her son's back and arms.

Her defense, however, may fly in Indiana where their religious freedom laws and a 2008 Supreme Court decision which permits parents to beat their children with belts or electrical cords to discipline them, calling it "corporal punishment"

"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. "I decided to punish my son to prevent him from hurting my daughter and to help him learn how to behave as God would want him to."

Two days later, a teacher patted the boy on the back and saw him flinch, according to court records. The teacher saw red welts on the boy and reported the observations to police and child welfare officials.

A doctor at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health found 36 bruises across the boy's back, thigh and left arm. Three photographs submitted to the court show deep purple lines striping the boy's back and several welts on his arm. The boy has one curved bruise on his cheek in the shape of a hook on a coat hanger.

Thaing was arrested in February on felony abuse and neglect charges.

Thaing and her lawyer, Greg Bowes, declined to be interviewed for this story. In a six-page memorandum filed July 29, Bowes argued that RFRA gives Thaing the right to discipline her children in accordance with her beliefs, and that the state should not interfere with her fundamental right to raise her children as she deems appropriate.

Will someone in the press ask Governor Mike Pence whether he agrees with allowing child abuse under the guise of religious freedom? I won't hold my breath.


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