A prominent Texas judge who was filmed beating his daughter with a belt and cursing at her said he was merely disciplining his child and did nothing wrong.
"No, in my mind I haven't done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing. And I did lose my temper, but I've since apologized," Judge William Adams told KZTV Wednesday after the video went viral on the internet.
Hillary Adams, the daughter who is seen being beaten in the video, secretely recorded the beating seven years ago and recently uploaded it to YouTube Oct. 27. The video was then posted on Reddit, a link-sharing website, where it racked up millions of views and incited anger among viewers.
"I just wanted somebody to see it and tell me, 'no, Hillary this wasn't right and I'm glad you were able to grow up and move on past this' and 'no, your Dad wasn't right,'" Hillary Adams said told ABC News' Chris Cuomo.
Beating Judge Not Sorry
Both Hillary and William Adams have said the beating took place as punishment for then-16-year-old Hillary illegally downloading from the internet. It was shot in 2004 by a secret camera Hillary set up when she anticipated her father might beat her. She said the beatings were a regular part of her life during those years, but she did not publish the video until now because she feared it would incite more violence, according to the interview.
"Another fight was getting out of control and I knew the beating was coming so I just waited," Hillary Adams said.
Hillary and her mother, Hallie Adams, have since moved out of the family home. The family has not said where a younger daughter, age 11, is living.
The Aransas County Court, where William Adams has his office, posted a sign canceling his hearings for the day, according to ABC News affiliate KiiiTV. Phone calls to the judge's home and office went unanswered today. Neighbors told the news station that the judge and his girlfriend were seen leaving Wednesday after taking belongings from their home, including bags, hanging clothes, a briefcase, a laptop, and six to eight gun cases.
A message posted to Hillary Adams Facebook Twitter and Facebook account Thursday said that her father had canceled her phone number and phone service.
The video, which prompted thousands of calls of complaint to the courthouse, sheriff's office, and police department, also prompted a police investigation into the matter.
"Under Texas law, and the penal code, parents have a right to discipline children. You know what is discipline and what is abuse. That has to be determined as some point," Rockport Police Chief Tim Jayroe told KiiiTV.
The police will try to authenticate the video and then turn it over to the district attorney, who can then present it to a grand jury.
The video also shows Hillary's mother, Hallie Adams, participating briefly in the beating, grabbing the belt from her husband and telling her daughter to "act like a 16-year-old woman and take it." Hallie has since left her husband and apologized to her daughter, she said on the Today show.
"I was completely brainwashed and controlled," Hallie said, noting that her husband struggled with addiction, but didn't offer details on what kind. "I did every single thing that he did. When I leave the room he is telling me what to say, what to do."
Now, Hillary Adams said her father has suffered enough.
"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," told the Today show.