Mom waives hearing on charges she beat, choked girl over Bible verses

Rhonda K. Shoffner (Dauphin County Prison)

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – A Dauphin County woman is headed to trial on charges she beat, kicked and strangled her daughter because the girl couldn’t correctly recite Bible verses.

Rhonda K. Shoffner, 41, of Middletown, waived charges of aggravated assault, strangulation, terroristic threats, and endangering the welfare of a child during a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

She remains in Dauphin County Prison on $100,000 cash bail. A formal arraignment is scheduled for May 5.

The girl told police her mother had been drunk for three days. She said she was ordered to get on her knees on a bathroom floor, and her mother started citing Bible passages and expected her to repeat the exact words, according to court documents that indicate the girl is less than 13 years old.

When the girl couldn’t repeat the verses correctly, she said her mother slammed her head into a wall, kicked her in the head and stomach, threatened to kill her, and strangled her until she couldn’t breathe.

The girl said her mother eventually allowed her to get up and told her to “just leave and don’t ever come back.”

She said she fled the house wearing only a tank top and jeans, but was able to put on a coat and sneakers she grabbed on her way out the door as she ran down the street. Her father picked her up at a nearby fast food restaurant.

Police said the incident occurred on the afternoon of March 14. A winter storm that day dumped more than a foot of snow on the area.

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