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Woman pleads guilty to battery, used RFRA as defense

Posted at 11:59 AM, Oct 28, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- A Burmese woman who was arrested after beating her 7-year-old child with a plastic coat hanger will not spend time in jail, due to a plea she agreed to Friday.

The woman, Khin Par Thaing, used Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a defense at the time. 

“We’ve been frustrated with the RFRA law since it was enacted because we advised at the time and told legislators if it didn’t exempt criminal code, people would serve it as a defense for criminal conduct,” Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said in August.

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On Friday, the judge accepted Thaing's agreement, dropping the neglect charge in exchange for 364 days of probation and a day of credit for time already served.

If Thaing, 30, completes the probation, her Level 6 Felony conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor. 

If she violates the probation, she could serve that time in jail.

Thaing is not a U.S. citizen, so the plea agreement could affect her ability to become a citizen. Worst-case scenario, the situation could also get her deported.

State officials said the family responded well following the incident. They provided the child with medical attention and therapists, so the state gave her the plea deal.