Army spares single mother from a court-martial, but still demotes her and revokes benefits.

Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, a 21-year-old Army cook, refused to deploy to Afghanistan in November because she had no one to take care of her 10-month-old son. Hutchinson said when she brought her situation to her superiors’ attention, they told her that she would have to deploy anyway and place the child in foster care. After skipping her unit’s flight out of Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, GA, military police arrested her, and the Army eventually filed charges. However, today, the New York Times reports that the Hutchinson won’t be facing a court-martial, which could have resulted in jail time if she had been convicted:

On Thursday, Specialist Hutchinson received an other-than-honorable discharge, ending an impasse that had surprised many legal experts and spurred lively debate in military circles.

In a news release, the Third Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga., said Specialist Hutchinson’s rank had been reduced to private and that she would lose some Army and veterans’ benefits.

Last year, there were more than “10,000 single parents on active military duty deployed overseas,” and legal experts speculated that commanders may have been using Hutchinson’s case to “send a message to other single-parent soldiers in the brigade.”