NEW YORK (AP) _ A man convicted of defacing a controversial painting of the Virgin Mary has been fined $250 and given a chance to clear his record.

Dennis Heiner, 73, was arrested last December after smearing white paint on ``The Holy Virgin Mary'' at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The work, part of the British ``Sensation'' exhibit, incensed many people because it was decorated with elephant dung and pornographic cutouts.

Heiner was told by the judge at Tuesday's sentencing that if he stays out of trouble for six months, his record will be wiped clean.

A jury convicted Heiner last month of criminal mischief, which carries penalties of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Prosecutors alleged Heiner was trying to destroy the painting. The defense argued Heiner was exercising free speech, protesting what he considered a slur against a sacred symbol.