A young woman said a video she posted on YouTube is a glimpse into beatings that she endured for years.
- Video On YouTube (Warning: Graphic Content)
The clip was shot in 2004 and shows Aransas County Family Court Judge William Adams violently whipping his daughter in the legs more than a dozen times and profanely berating the teenager for more than seven minutes.
In the video, Adams said, "Bend over that bed. Bend over that bed." Adams is then seen repeatedly spanking his daughter with a leather belt.
Hillary Adams, who was 16 at the time, said she secretly videotaped the beating in her bedroom because she "knew something was about to happen." She says her parents were angry at her for using her computer to download pirated content over the Internet.
In the clip's opening seconds, William Adams is heard telling Hillary's mother, "Go get the belt. The big one. I'm going to spank her now." With belt in hand, he turns off the light and tries forcing his daughter to bend over the bed to be beaten, but she refuses.
"Lay down or I'll spank you in your (expletive) face," Adams screams while he lashes her with sweeping blows across the legs, ignoring her wails and pleas for him to stop.
A few minutes into the video, Hillary's mother barks at her to "turn over like a 16-year-old and take it! Like a grown woman!" For about a minute, the ordeal appears to have ended after both parents leave the room and shut the door. But the judge then storms back into the room and the beating resumes.
Hillary Adams stressed that she did not post the video as revenge and does not want her father punished. Rather, she did it because she thinks it will force him to seek help, and because he has been harassing her and she thought posting the clip would make that stop.
She said she recently warned her dad, "I told him that I had the video and he acted like he had nothing to worry about. And I said, 'I can post the video of you beating me on the Internet,' and he said, 'Well, you can do that if it will make you feel better.' So I did."
"Yeah. That's me. I lost my temper. I spanked her. Her mother was there. She wasn't hurt," said William Adams. "There is a story. It will come out in due time."
He said he has talked to his daughter since the release of the obscenity-filled video.
"I apologized to her," he said. "I really don't want to get into this right now. Because as you can see, my life's been made very difficult over this child."
William Adams, 51, said that the footage "looks worse than it is." Adams said he was simply disciplining his daughter for stealing.
When told of her father's comments, Hillary Adams, now 23, said, "it's a shining perfect example of his personality and he believes he can do no wrong. ... He will cover up rather than admit to what he did and try to come clean, which is what I really want him to do."
The video quickly spread around the world, as did the hateful comments about the judge. William Adams has been receiving threatening phone calls and faxes at the courthouse since the video went online, Aransas County Sheriff Bill Mills said. Hillary Adams said she simply wanted her father to get help, not threats.
"Waiting so long to publish it has enabled me to look at it with hindsight and not be so caught up in the passion of the moment," she said. "And I think we do -- my mother and I do need to try and move on past the anger and just concentrate on getting counseling and help."
Hillary Adams, whose parents divorced in 2007 after 22 years of marriage, said she waited this long to post the video because she didn't know what would have happened to her had she posted it just after it happened.
"If this had blown up when I was a minor who knows where I would be. I wouldn't be able to escape," she said.
Rockport Police, the Texas Rangers and the Aransas County District Attorney are investigating. Another judge will take over William Adams' caseload until the matter is fully investigated.
Police launched an investigation Wednesday after receiving calls from people who saw the video online. The clip has been viewed more than 1 million times on YouTube since being uploaded last week.
While Hillary Adams is close with her mother, she suspects the video will only further alienate her from her father's side of the family. Still, she says she believes it was the right thing to do.
"I'm very relieved that these things have been brought to light and not because I want to see my father burn or anything like that. That's a hideous way of thinking and I don't want to inflict that upon him," she said. "I cannot stress enough -- I cannot repeat myself enough, that he just needs help."
Adams, Aransas County's top judge, was elected in 2001 and has dealt with at least 349 family law cases in the past year alone, nearly 50 of which involved state caseworkers seeking determine whether parents were fit to raise their children.