Warning - if you choose to click on the link to the You Tube video, know that it shows a man beating a girl with a belt while yelling at her, cussing her out, et cetera. I found it really horrible to watch and had to turn it off, so I wanted to give you all fair warning.
A Texas judge made infamous this week when his disabled daughter released a 2004 video of him viciously beating her with a belt won't face charges because the statue of limitations has expired, police announced Thursday.
The Associated Press reports that Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams would have likely been charged with causing injury to a child or other assault-related offenses for the beating of his then-16-year-old daughter, if not for the five-year statue of limitations.
"We believe that there was a criminal offense involved and that there was substantial evidence to indicate that and under normal circumstances ... a charge could have been made," Rockport Police Chief Tim Jayroe said Thursday, adding that officers will discuss the case with federal prosecutors even though it is unlikely that federal charges would apply.
Still, Adams, who presides over child abuse cases as part of his job, may not get off scot-free. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services – the agency responsible for a portion of his case load – is now investigating him and he’s also the subject of a separate judicial conduct investigation. As fellow Aransas County Judge C.H. Mills Jr. told the AP, "Personally I don't see how he can recover from this."
Adams’s national image problem began last week when his daughter, Hillary Adams, now 23, posted an 8-minute video to YouTube. (Fair warning: the video is rather difficult to watch). In the video, William Adams is shown repeatedly whipping his daughter with a belt despite her sustained pleas for him to stop. According to the video’s description, apparently written by Hillary Adams, the beating was a result of the then 16-year-old downloading music and games illegally from the Internet, and was just one instance of a pattern of physical and emotional abuse targeting both her and her mother, Hallie Adams. Hallie Adams is shown briefly participating in the beating. She and William Adams divorced in 2007.
As of Friday morning, the video had over three-and-a-half million views, with many viewers opting for their own type of Internet vigilante justice.
Both Hillary and William Adams have since talked about the incident to the press. William Adams claims that the video “looks worse than it is,” and released a three-page statement in his defense. As the AP summarizes, he says the video’s release was to “get back at him for telling her he would be reducing the amount of financial support he gives her and taking away her Mercedes.”
On both NBC’s Today show and CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, Hillary Adams has claimed that she posted the video, in part, to encourage her father to get help. She told Cooper, “I wanted to show my father, 'Hey, I think you were in some denial about the way you are treating me and my mother.'”
ETA: The explanation that Hilary Adams posted on YouTube for why she made this video public is:
[INDENT]2004: Arkansas County Court-At-Law Judge William Adams took a belt to his own teenage daughter as punishment for using the internet to acquire music and games that were unavailable for legal purchase at the time. 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. The judge's wife was emotionally abused herself and was severely manipulated into assisting the beating and should not be blamed for any content in this video. The judge's wife has since left the marriage due to the abuse, which continues to this day, and has sincerely apologized and repented for her part and for allowing such a thing, long before this video was even revealed to exist. Judge William Adams is not fit to be anywhere near the law system if he can't even exercise fit judgement as a parent himself. Do not allow this man to ever be re-elected again. His "judgement" is a giant farce. Signed, Hillary Adams, his daughter.[/INDENT]
1. I know that there are some crimes (such as murder) that do not have a statute of limitations. Do you think that it is appropriate that abuse has a statute of limitations (in cases where it can be proved fairly well, such as when it is caught on video tape.)
2. Assuming that the father is absolutely correct, and she is posting this video in retaliation for him taking away her Mercedes....does it matter? Does the timing of the release of the video (7 years after the incident) bother you?
3. I have read comments on line (both in that article but also on You Tube) stating that this was not abuse, and further more, if she had just laid down and let him spank her, it wouldn't have escalated to this point. Do you think that any child/person should be reasonably expected to "just lay down" and take a beating with a belt? If they don't, is it then "their fault" if the beating escalates? And quite simply, do you believe that this was abuse, or simply discipline?