A Texas judge who was seen on video violently beating his disabled daughter insisted Wednesday that he did nothing wrong.
Aransas County Judge William Adams (R) admitted Tuesday that he was the man in the video seen administering about 20 lashes with his belt to his daughter Hillary Adams.
KZTV caught up with Judge Adams outside his home Tuesday morning where he explained that he already apologized for losing his temper.
“She’s mad because I’ve ordered her to bring the car back — in a nutshell,” Judge Adams told KZTV’s Andy Liscano. “Yeah, that’s me. I lost my temper. I spanked her. Her mother was there. She wasn’t hurt. It was a long time ago.”
“As you can see, my life’s been made very difficult over this child. … In my mind, I haven’t done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing and I did lose my temper, but I’ve since apologized. It looks worse than it is. There is a story. It’ll come out in due time.”
“Do you acknowledge the beating was excessive — the spanking, the discipline?” Liscano asked.
“No, I’m not going to get into that,” the judge replied.
In a description included with the 2004 video, Hillary Adams explained that her father had been upset because she illegally downloaded games and music to her computer.
“She has had ataxic cerebral palsy from birth that led her to a passion for technology, which was strictly forbidden by her father’s backwards views,” Hillary Adams wrote of herself.
“Waiting this long to publish it has enabled me to look at it with hindsight and not be so caught up in the passion of the moment,” she told KZTV. “I think we do, my mother and I, we do need to try to move on past the anger and just concentrate on getting counseling and help.”
While Aransas County residents were clearly disturbed when they saw the video, other supporters refused to believe it was him.
“That is disgusting,” Henry Acuna, who has known the judge for years, said. “I saw a person, but I did not see his face on that camera. And so, I don’t know. I can’t — I don’t believe its him. No, really and truly.”
Police, the sheriff’s office and child protective services have all opened investigations after being flooded with calls from angry Internet users. The Aransas County Courthouse has increased security due to threats against the judge and his clerk.
Judge Adams has volunteered to take a paid leave while the investigations are conducted. One law enforcement official said he was concerned that the statue of limitations may have expired in this case.
“Unfortunately, nothing will come of it because it exceeds the statute of limitations,” Texas-based attorney Terry Collins told The Christian Post, adding that the statue of limitations in such cases is five years.
Other say that for more severe child abuse cases, the statute of limitations is 10 years after the child’s 18th birthday. Hillary Adams is 23 now.
“We’re in a fact-finding situation now to determine what is true,” Aransas County District Attorney Patrick Flanigan told CNN.
The viral You Tube video had been viewed over 1.6 million times by Thursday morning. A “Don’t Re-Elect Judge William Adams” page on Facebook had been “liked” over 20,000 times.
Watch this video report from KZTV, broadcast Nov. 2, 2011.
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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