A mother who allegedly assaulted her 13-year-old daughter after she failed to correctly recite Bible verses earlier this year was sentenced to two-and-a-half to five years in state prison Wednesday after she pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, strangulation, terroristic threats and endangering the welfare of a child.
The mother, Rhonda Shoffner, 41, of Middletown, Pennsylvania, was sentenced by Dauphin County Judge John F. Cherry, Penn Live reported.
“This was an extremely scary situation for this young victim to have to endure. Fortunately, she is doing well now and is in a safe place,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Sean McCormack said Thursday.
According to Penn Live, Shoffner was reportedly drunk for three days straight when the assault took place in March. Police said Shoffner told her daughter to call several family members and when none of them responded, she forced her daughter to get on her knees in the bathroom of their home.
The daughter said this was a sign that her mother was getting ready to beat her so she began pleading with her mother to spare her the abuse.
“Please don’t hit me. I don’t want to get on my knees,” police said the victim told her mother.
An angry Shoffner demanded that the 13-year-old “get on her (expletive) knees,” police said.
After the girl complied, Shoffner started reciting Bible verses which she expected her daughter to repeat verbatim as well.
“What did God tell the man to do with his son?” she asked the teenager.
When her daughter could not respond police say Shoffner told her: “God told the man to kill his son.”
When the teenager told her mother that “God said to forgive his son,” Shoffner grabbed her by the hair and slammed her head into a wall.
Each time the teenager gave an answer Shoffner did not find acceptable she slammed her daughter’s head into bathroom drywall. She did this at least five times, police say, even as her daughter begged her to stop.
Shoffner then told her daughter to lie on her back and the girl complied, she began to strangle her, declaring: “I’m gonna kill you (expletive),” police said.
It was at this point that the teenager, afraid she might die, began fighting her mother. Shoffner responded by biting her daughter’s left forearm and sinking her teeth into her left shoulder.
The teenager kept fighting until the frustrated mother told her “just leave and don’t ever come back.”
She grabbed a coat, a pair of sneakers and her phone and fled. She was then met by her father who took her to the police who later charged Shoffner.
As part of her sentence, Shoffner was also ordered to undergo alcohol and drug counseling and to remain drug and alcohol free, the Press and Journal said. She will also be subjected to random drug and alcohol testing upon her release from prison.
In January, Shoffner also pleaded guilty to a simple assault charge stemming from a second assault incident. Shoffner assaulted a woman during an argument in a car. She hit the woman and bit her during that assault, the Press and Journal said.