The video of Hillary Adams being viciously beaten with a belt by her father, Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams, swept the Internet and led to a public outcry.
The video, which goes on for seven-and-a-half minutes, took place in 2004 when Hillary was just 16-years-old. William Adams lashes his daughter on her legs, arms, and buttocks because she downloaded music from an illegal website on the family computer.
The mother, Hallie Adams, appears in the video as well, telling her daughter turn over like a 16-year-old and take it. Like a grown woman.
Hillary kept the video for seven years and, after recent persistent harassment from her father, posted it on YouTube just last week. Hillary is now 23-years-old.
Not only is her father a judge, but Hillary herself is disabled. She has cerebral palsy, a disease classified by low muscle tone and poor coordination of muscles.
On Thursday morning of Nov. 3, Hillary sat down with the TODAY Show's Matt Lauer to discuss why exactly she released the horrifying recording.
Seven years later Hillary says, I've experienced everything from crying about it to almost just laughing. I've experienced so many emotions and sometimes it's like reliving it and sometimes it's like watching it from a completely third person point of view. It's just really impossible to put all of that into words.
Hillary says that there had been a history of abuse at the hands of her father.
It did happen regularly for a period of time, and I could tell because of the pattern that things were escalating again, she said, calmly. So I set up my video camera on the dresser and covered the little red light with a scarf. About half an hour after I set the camera up this happened. and it was amazing that I was able to capture such a thing.
But the burning question of the day was, why did she wait seven years to release the tape? And why did she post it on the internet instead of going to authorities?
I waited seven years because back then I was still a minor and living under his roof and releasing it then would have, I don't know what would have happened to me or my mother or my little sister so waiting until today seven years later has enabled me to pull away and be able to distance myself from the consequences.
The video currently has over 2 million hits on YouTube, after originally being posted on Reddit.
Lauer brings up the fact that, although Hillary included a note urging people to not reelect her father, Judge William Adams is not up for reelection for another three years.
It was the straw that broke the camel's back. it wasn't any, you know, huge happening or anything. I just told him I had the video and he didn't seem to think anything of it. And basically dared me to post it.
I think wishing anybody to lose their job is not a really good thing to do but... his being fit for the job is something I can't really say that he is, she continues.
Hillary's mother Hallie sat next to her on the TODAY Show couch and Lauer grilled her as to why she would allow this to happen.
Apparently, there is a history of addiction on Judge Adams' part. Hallie believes herself to be a victim who has been brainwashed and controlled.
I lived in an environment of dysfunction and it steadily got worse. I tried to -- I did leave him when she was 6-months-old and he shamed me into going back and I did my best, said Hallie.
Hillary's relationship with her mother is currently intact. We are very close now. When I showed her the video she started crying, hasn't stopped apologizing and I forgive her because she knows everything that happened.
When confronted, Judge Adams said that it happened such a long time ago and things have since changed. He did claim that the story behind it all will come out, but Hillary and her mother just laughed that off.
They believe he truly has a problem.
I think he's been punished enough just by seeing this go public like this and I think he really needs help and rehabilitation. We need to get him counseling or something.
I regret [that] some of my friends and some people close to me have kind of had trouble with this and, of course, I regret that it's my own father. I'm having very mixed feelings about that but at the same time so many people are telling me that I did the right thing so there are definitely different emotions.