Disturbing video of Texas judge disciplining daughter entices online reactions

POSTED: Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 1:51pm

UPDATED: Sunday, November 6, 2011 - 5:48am

New video is surfacing out of Texas showing a father repeatedly hitting his teenage daughter with a belt. It's raising the debate over when discipline can turn into abuse.

The man in the video is Texas Judge William Adams, and the girl is his then 16-year-old daughter, who has cerebral palsy. The beating continues unabated for most of the 7-minute video that has swept the Internet and provoked an online outcry.

Again and again Hillary Adams cries out after being lashed by her father's belt on her legs, her arms and her buttocks. Once, at the hands of her mother.

“'You turn over, I'm going to spank you on your butt. You turn over like a 16-year-old and take it. Like a grown woman. Turn over!)

The disturbing scene was captured 7-years-ago in her bedroom, Hillary says, after her dad found out she had downloaded music from an illegal website.

“'Are you happy? [gets into her face as she lies on bed] disobeying your parents?

After holding onto the video since 2004, Hillary, now 23 and living on her own, uploaded it to YouTube after she says her father continued to harass her, and she finally had enough.

“The disputes and harassment were escalating and finally it was just the straw that broke the camel's back and I told him I had the video and he brushed it off.

Williams Adams isn't just Hillary's father, he's a judge in South Texas where he routinely rules on cases involving children. He also sits on a county board overseeing the juvenile system.

Adam’s admits that's him in the video, “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.

But as a family's private feud went public and viral, outrage has boiled over. Facebook pages have sprung up decrying Judge Adams, the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct has been flooded with demands he be removed from the bench, and in tiny Rockport, Police have been swamped by calls from all over the world.

Chief Tim Jayroe has opened an investigation at the District Attorney's request to determine whether the beating was criminal.

“Frequently it's a difficult thing to determine because by state law a person has a right to discipline their children to a point, but not to the point that you can cause serious bodily injury to a child,” Jayroe says.

Hillary's mother has since divorced Adams and apologized for her role in the beating. For his part, Judge Adams insists his daughter wasn't hurt.

“I lost my temper, I spanked her,” he says. “Her mother was there. She wasn't hurt. It was a long time ago.”

Police say Judge Adams has left Rockport, and a note outside the courthouse informs his hearings have been canceled.

We want to know what you think of this video. Is this a case best left in the home, or one for the courtroom? Tell us your thoughts on the NBC33 Facebook page.

Comments News Comments

We often hear from those who fight to uphold this practice for those under the age of 18 (even to the blaming of the social maladies of the day on a supposed "lack" of it), but we rarely, if ever, find advocates for the return of corporal punishment to the general adult community, college campuses, inmate population, or military. Why is that?

Ask ten unyielding proponents of child/adolescent/teenage-only "spanking" about the "right" way to do it, and what would be abusive, indecent, or obscene, and you will get ten different answers.

These proponents should consider making their own video-recording of the "right way" to do it.

Visit Unlimited Justice or Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education to learn more and add your voice.

i had my ass whipped when i was a kid and lectures too........i deserved all of them.....my daughter only had twe from me and she knows right from wrong and has grown up to be a very responsible loving young lady...it was not abuse, it was reality check and wake up to responsibility......and it worked!!!!!!!!

I think the father has a right to discipline his daughter. For all we know, she might have been mouthing off and with the behavior of children today, more need to be disciplines.

disciplines ??? This is a BEATING. believe me I know !!!. for you to defend this can only mean you beat your children. mouthing off ??? not on tape and if sooo so what... that makes this right ???? FOR " MOM" TO HELP HIM TELLS ME THIS IS A ROUTINE IN THIS HOME , EXPERIENCE

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