County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams has become an Internet sensation, but not in a good way. A video was posted that purportedly shows the judge beating his disabled teenage daughter. Now, the YouTube video has triggered a formal investigation. The 2004 beating by the judge was reportedly due to her use of the Internet without his permission. The daughter leaked the video entitled “Family law judge beats own daughter for using the internet, please spread” to expose what she says is her father’s untreated “problem.” The daughter who has cerebral palsy was caught downloading music.
The family judge is shown on the tape beating her with a belt until she grabs it. He then returns to resume the beating with a new belt and is recorded saying “Bend over the f***ing bed . . . Lay down or I’ll spank you in the f***ing face.”
The mother is also heard saying “You turn over like a 16-year-old and take it like a grown woman.”
The judge then adds “If I hear so much as you raising your f***ing voice to me or your mother with the wrong tone or do one little thing or you look at me f***ing wrong, I’m going to wear your f***ing a** out with this belt.”
The judge admits that he is shown beating her with a belt but insists that he did noting wrong: “She’s mad because I’ve ordered her to bring the car back, in a nutshell, but yeah that’s me, I lost my temper.” He added “It was a long time ago… I really don’t want to get into this right now because as you can see my life’s been made very difficult over this child. . . In my mind I have not done anything wrong other than discipline my child when she was caught stealing. I did lose my temper, I’ve apologized.. it looks worse than it is.”
Critics have noted that Adams has previously ruled against children alleging abuse by their parents. Last October, Adams said that a child’s statements ‘amounted to no evidence’ despite witnesses and a video in the case as well as the supporting testimony of a child psychologist. He used the occasion to call children “fantasizers.”
Adams remains on the bench pending investigation.
The eight-minute video has been viewed millions of times.
What is interesting is the wife divorced the judge and is now supporting her daughter, saying that the judge was engaged in regular bouts of violence due to his “addiction.” She called it a “family secret.” She divorced him in 2007. Yet, the mother is shown on the video responding to the judge’s demand “Go get the belt. The big one. I’m going to spank her now.”
Local reporters say that a neighbor saw “Adams and his girlfriend packing luggage, a briefcase and rifles into their truck.”
There remains a debate over whether spanking or beating a child is per se abuse. There has been a shift in attitudes from the time when teachers routinely beat children and parents whipped their children. There is no per se rule against spanking but beatings of this savagery would meet most definitions of abuse. Texas defines physical harm as involving “substantial” injury, though it also includes emotional injury:
§ 261.001. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
(1) “Abuse” includes the following acts or omissions by a person:
(A) mental or emotional injury to a child that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning;
(B) causing or permitting the child to be in a situation in which the child sustains a mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning;
(C) physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm;
(D) failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another person that results in physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child;
(E) sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of indecency with a child under Section 21.11, Penal Code, sexual assault under Section 22.011, Penal Code, or aggravated sexual assault under Section 22.021, Penal Code;
(F) failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct harmful to a child;
(G) compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct as defined by Section 43.01, Penal Code;
(H) causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming, or depicting of the child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of the child is obscene as defined by Section 43.21, Penal Code, or pornographic;
(I) the current use by a person of a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child;
(J) causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code; or
(K) causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a sexual performance by a child as defined by Section 43.25, Penal Code.
The statute would indicate a ten-year statute of limitations for his type of crime:
Except as provided in Article 12.03, felony indictments may be presented within these limits, and not afterward:
(1) no limitation:
(A) murder and manslaughter;
(B) sexual assault, if during the investigation of the offense biological matter is collected and subjected to forensic DNA testing and the testing results show that the matter does not match the victim or any other person whose identity is readily ascertained; or
(C) an offense involving leaving the scene of an accident under Section 550.021, Transportation Code, if the accident resulted in the death of a person;
(2) ten years from the date of the commission of the offense:
(A) theft of any estate, real, personal or mixed, by an executor, administrator, guardian or trustee, with intent to defraud any creditor, heir, legatee, ward, distributee, beneficiary or settlor of a trust interested in such estate;
(B) theft by a public servant of government property over which he exercises control in his official capacity;
(C) forgery or the uttering, using or passing of forged instruments;
(D) injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual punishable as a felony of the first degree under Section 22.04, Penal Code;
(E) sexual assault, except as provided by Subdivision (1) or (5); or
Based on the video evidence, it is odd that Adams would be left on the bench rather than put on leave pending the outcome of the investigation — particularly after his admission that he is the man shown beating the child.
[UPDATE: Adams has now taken a leave of absence.]
Here is the disturbing YouTube video.
Source: Seattle Pi as first seen on YouTube.