5/18/23 Froiland

Former assistant professor John Froiland sits in court Thursday, preparing to plead guilty to battering his wife in 2021.

Former Purdue assistant professor John Froiland pleaded guilty Thursday to throwing his ex-wife into a wall in front of one of their children.

According to the plea agreement, he will be sentenced with a level 6 felony count of domestic battery in the presence of a child and may serve time in the county jail.

Originally, prosecutors charged Froiland with five other counts, including battery of a child less than 16 years old, battery on a person less than 14 years old, two charges of confinement, intimidation and interference with the reporting of a crime. These charges have been dropped as part of the plea agreement.

In some instances, level 6 felonies can be reduced to misdemeanors, but under the plea agreement, Froiland will be ineligible to do so.

On Nov. 11, 2021, Froiland allegedly beat his then-wife and locked his then-10-year-old son in a dog cage. He then reportedly told his son "to die" and stated he was going to place chicken wire around the crate so his son could not get out, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Froiland then reportedly broke a wooden leg off a chair and hit his wife repeatedly in the arms, the affidavit states. The wife said she suffered bruising and swelling from being hit.

Froiland then allegedly took his wife's phone, purse and keys to prevent her from leaving. He also confiscated the phone of his daughter, who was present during the incident. The wife later escaped to her other son's Purdue residence and called the police.

During his Thursday court hearing, the former professor told Judge Sean Persin he understood he was waiving his right to a jury trial by pleading guilty, adding he had “already been treated as guilty by the national media.”

Froiland also told Persin he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but his lawyer, Jack O'Bryan, clarified this had no effect on Froiland when he battered his wife.

Persin said the victims of the case will be able to make statements before Froiland's sentencing hearing on July 14 at 11 a.m. The victims' statements may be taken into account when deciding Froiland's sentence.

“Make what kind of statements, exactly?” Froiland said, hesitating slightly and tensing in his chair.

Persin said any victims would have the opportunity to say whatever they wanted before Froiland was sentenced, to which Froiland reluctantly agreed in a lowered voice.

Persin said Froiland is expected to face a year in jail, and his ex-wife is not seeking restitution.

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