An Indianapolis woman whose seven-year-old son was left with multiple wounds after she beat him with a hanger is now claiming she had the right do so because of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Act.
According to reports, 30-year-old mother of three Kin Park Thaing found her son and three-year-old daughter showing each other their private parts in the upstairs bathroom on February 3rd.
As a form of punishment, an enraged Thaing grabbed the first thing she saw—a coat hanger—and proceeded to brutally hit her son and daughter with it.
The seven-year-old was left with over 36 deep purple bruises across his back, on his arm and on his thigh. The daughter was not hit nearly as much.
Sadly, the incident was only brought to light after the boy’s teacher went to pat him on the back, and the boy flinched. After further inspection, Child Protective Services were called.
Thaing was arrested and brought in front of an Indianapolis judge, where the mother requested that her charges be dropped on account of the state’s religious freedom law.
In 2015, the state enacted The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which says the government cannot intrude on a person’s religious liberty unless it can prove a compelling interest in imposing that burden, and can do so in the least restrictive way.
During court, Thaing quoted a Bible verse in justifying her actions.
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.”
Thaing added that she hit her son because:
“I was worried for my son’s salvation with God after he dies. 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.”
According to reports, Thaing’s usage of the law is the first time the law has been cited to justify disciplining a child.
With that being said, Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Matt Savage said in an eight-page rebuttal filed Aug. 5, that the beating:
“…(goes) beyond these religious instructions she cites from the Bible.”
Savage added that the law enables parents to institute “reasonable corporal punishment.” However, the punishment she administered was beyond what most people consider to be reasonable.
Mat Staver, who has a Christian nonprofit that advocates for religious freedom, was interviewed stating:
“It doesn’t seem to be, at least in my view, a reasonable level of corporal punishment.”
According to the boy’s father, Dhanng Ling, he knew that his wife hit their children as a form of punishment. However, he was in tears over her actions during the court hearing.
As for the children, they have since been brought under the care of the Department of Child Services after their mother was charged. It’s unclear where they are staying.
The mother is still awaiting trail while the investigation continues.