Posted at 02:50 PM ET, 11/02/2011

Texas sheriff's office opens probe after YouTube video shows judge beating daughter

This post has been updated.

The video is seven minutes of stomach-churning violence, as a man whips a teenage girl with a belt, cursing her when she does not lay on her stomach to take the beating. Posted last week on YouTube, the video went viral on Tuesday after it was linked on the message board Reddit.
Hillary Adams, the daughter of Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams, practices the piano at her home in Rockport, Texas. (Rachel Denny Clow/AP)

The person who uploaded the video: the girl being beaten in the video, Hillary Adams. Now 23, Adams secretly recorded the video in 2004. It shows her father, Aransas County Court-At-Law Judge William Adams, whipping her with a belt after she illegally downloaded music off the Internet.

After the video went viral on YouTube, Adams told the Associated Press she felt some regret for posting the video online, but that she hoped it would force him to get help.

In the video description on YouTube Adams wrote, “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.”

She then linked the video on Reddit, where it quickly became one of the top read and most recommended stories on the site Tuesday night. Other Reddit users tracked down the numbers to the sheriff’s department and the judge’s office in Rockport, Tx.

The judge could not be reached for comment, as his phone line remained busy throughout Wednesday morning. The Web site for the court remained offline as well, likely due to a huge increase in traffic.

Early Wednesday afternoon, the Corpus Christi, Tx. television station KRIS reached Judge Adams who said, “It happened years ago ... I apologized.” He also said the video made his conduct look worse than it was.

Police Chief Tim Jayroe, when reached by phone by The Post, said his office had been flooded with calls. The video was brought to his office’s attention Tuesday night and it opened an investigation into the video.

He said the office started a criminal investigation to look into the video and asked the Department of Public Safety to assist in the investigation. He said they had no reason to believe the girl in the video was in any additional danger, as the video seemed to have been taken seven years earlier.
(A screengrab of the YouTube video)

In a Reddit comment, Hillary Adams said she secretly recorded her father, but never showed it to anyone until she uploaded it on YouTube. She said a volatile phone conversation with her father the night before prompted her to finally post it.

In the video, a woman also beats the girl with a belt, though she appears to be attempting to defuse the man’s anger. The video description identifies the woman as Judge Adams’ wife, Hallie Adams, and claims she was also abused by her husband and subsequently divorced him. In a Facebook page that appears to have been created today, Hallie Adams posted a message saying she hopes “for my daughters to both finally be able to go to counseling both individually and as a family group with their Dad’s approval, encouragement, involvement and support, for him to finally make amends to all of us, talk openly with us, and take the first steps to letting our broken family heal.”

In other YouTube videos on the same account, a video posted more than a year ago identifies the same girl as Hillary. In another video, posted on Tuesday, the girl is shown as a young adult displaying her first toy, a miniature piano, as well as the splints she wore from a young age for ataxic cerebral palsy.

Hillary Adams has not returned requests for comment, though she has been posting remarks on Reddit and Twitter.

The attention online spurred concerns for Judge Adams’ safety. In one Reddit post about the topic, a user writes, “By advocating for violence and retribution against Judge Adams, we are stooping to his level.”

His daughter agrees, writing on Twitter Wednesday morning: “Please spread the word that my father needs professional help and not hatred. We can offer him the tools to be a better person.”

(Via Reddit)

By  |  02:50 PM ET, 11/02/2011

 
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