A prominent Texas judge placed on leave while the court investigates the circumstances surrounding a video of him beating his daughter with a belt and cursing at her proposed the suspension himself, his lawyer said.
Judge William Adams and the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct filed a joint motion to temporarily suspend his official duties as presiding judge during the course of an investigation. The Texas Supreme Court approved the motion on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011.
Adams had already taken immediate voluntary leave, upon learning that the video of "a family disciplinary event" had been made public, his lawyer William Dudley of Corpus Christi, Texas, said in a statement today.
"The agreed temporary suspension is neither a fault sanction imposed by the Texas Supreme Court following an adversarial hearing, a finding of fault or wrongdoing by the commission, or admission of fault or wrongdoing by Judge Adams," Dudley said.
The suspension will allow the commission to "investigate allegations in a complete and yet expedient manner," he said.
After the video went viral on the Internet earlier this month, Adams said that 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," he Adams told KZTV.
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 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 ABC affiliate KIII-TV.
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," she told the Today show.