Texas judge William Adams, who is currently the elected Aransas County Court-At-Law Judge, was caught on video beating his disabled daughter with a belt.
And, with the video attracting attention, Judge Adams' phones have been disconnected.
The video was filmed in 2004 and uploaded to YouTube in October. After being posted on Reddit, the video titled Judge William Adams beats daughter for using the internet has gone from 200,000 to half-a-million views in two hours.
In trying to reach Adams for comment, it was learned that his cell phone and his office phone have been disconnected.
Calls to the county clerk's office were not returned. Additionally, the contact form on the court's Web page no longer works.
At around noon on Wednesday, the Court-at-Law office released this statement:
Judge Burt Mills has today announced that Aransas County is aware of the video posted on YouTube regarding County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams, and the matter is now under review by the Police Department. Please refrain from communication with County offices or the Sheriff's Department on this matter until the review has been completed. Calls, emails, and faxes only create disruptions for other ongoing county business. The public's cooperation would be most appreciated.
The Rockport, Texas Police Department did, however, return calls. Police Chief Tim Jayroe told IBTimes that an investigation was opened Tuesday night and that police are working with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers.
We're taking appropriate actions; working with state agencies, the police chief said.
Jayroe could not confirm that the man in the video is Judge Adams, and noted that there has never been a complaint filed against Adams in the past, to his knowledge.
The Rockport police will try to contact folks identified in the video to determine authenticity, Jayroe said, adding that they don’t have the personnel to assign [anyone to the investigation] full time.
Adams' daughter Hillary Adams reportedly uploaded the video. According to the description, she suffers from ataxic cerebral palsy, which led her to a passion for technology.
In the video, the girl's father screams vitriol while hitting his daughter in her room. He repeatedly shouts that he is punishing her for playing video games. According to the uploader of the video, who has been contacted for comment, 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.
Judge Adams says to his daughter, I'm going to beat you into submission, and Get on your stomach like a grown woman! among other things.
At one point, the girl's mother enters the room and begins to berate the teenager and tells her to lie on the bed and accept her punishment.
Because Judge Adams' office has yet to respond for comment, it cannot be confirmed that he is the man in the video, but Gawker spoke to Hillary Adams' friend J. Andre Bardin, who said that Adams and his wife were the ones in the video.
I know in the article you say you cannot confirm the man in the video is him, but I can. It's him, Bardin said. That's his voice, that's his mannerisms, and that is his house.
A Facebook page called Don't Re-Elect Judge William Adams was created on Wednesday morning. As of 12 p.m. Eastern Time, there were about 4,000 members.