Judge William Adams will not be charged for physically abusing his daughter Hillary Adams, police said on Thursday.
The Aransas County, Texas judge was being investigated by the Rockland Police Department, as well as the Texas Rangers and Dept. of Public Safety, over a seven minute-long YouTube video of him beating his daughter with a leather belt as punishment for downloading music.
Hillary Adams secretly filmed the beating in 2004 and waited until this October to post the video online.
I decided to release the tape now after these seven years because I just finally snapped, Adams told KPLC News. It wasn't any carefully planned orchestration or anything like that, and I didn't really mean for anything huge to come of it.
Despite the savagery of the video, which has now been viewed over three million times, Adams will not be charged with any crime. The statute of limitations on domestic abuse in Texas is four years, so a seven-year-old video will not be enough to prosecute.
Spanking and other similar disciplinary measures are not illegal in Texas, however any act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault is illegal under Texas family code section 71.004.
Additionally, abuse is defined in section 261.00 as mental or emotional injury to a child that results in an observable and material impairment in the child's growth, development, or psychological functioning, or physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child.
Under Texas legislation, Hillary's mother Hallie Adams could be considered guilty of abuse as well. Aside from shouting at the girl in the video, abuse is also constituted by the 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.
Nonetheless, Adams told reporters that in my mind I haven't done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing.
I did lose my temper, but I've since apologized, it looks worse than it is. There's a story behind it and it will come out in due time, Judge Adams added.
A statement from Adams' lawyer says that Hillary Adams released the video as retaliation against her father who was going to cut off his daughter financially.
“Hillary warned her father if he reduced her financial support and took away her Mercedes automobile, which her father had provided, he would live to regret it,” family lawyer William Dudley said. “The post was then uploaded.”
Despite the lack of criminal charges, Adams may not come out of this unscathed. He has temporarily resigned from his post as Court-at-Law judge for Aransas County while a judicial committee in Austin, Texas conducts a probe.
Moreover, Judge Adams is an elected official. He is not up for re-election for another three years, but a Facebook group called Don't Re-Elect Judge William Adams already has more than 30,000 members.
“Judge Adams is confident that when the dust settles and international media attention has passed, and the work ahead, whether civil, criminal, or administrative, has taken its full course and has been fully developed, with an opportunity for all sides to ask and answer relevant questions, it will be concluded that Hillary Adams’ actions in 2011 were misguided and misleading,” Dudley stated.