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Water official, accused of whipping stepson, resigns

June 10, 2012 |  4:09 pm

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An Imperial County water agency director -- who was arrested after a video surfaced that appeared to show him hitting his stepson with a belt -- has resigned his position, his lawyer said.

Attorney Ryan Childers told the Imperial Valley Press that Anthony Sanchez, 34, stepped down from his post as the director of the Imperial Irrigation District on Saturday.

“Obviously with the circumstances surrounding the criminal investigation it’s going to be important that he focus his time and energy on the charges he’s facing and beginning to rebuild his life with his family,” Childers told the newspaper.

Authorities arrested Sanchez on Friday on suspicion of felony child abuse after his neighbor posted a video online that shows a man, identified by investigators as Sanchez, apparently hitting his stepson during a backyard game of catch.

The video, shot by neighbor Oscar Lopez, shows a man whipping the boy with a belt after the boy drops the ball. After a minute, Lopez can be heard on the recording telling the man to stop.

Lopez shot the video Wednesday morning from inside his home.

Childers told the Imperial Valley Press that no charges have been filed.

The newspaper reported that after news spread of Sanchez's arrest, more than 1,000 people signed an online petition calling for his recall.

Sanchez was initially elected in 2006 to represent Calexico, Heber and part of Holtville. His current term was to end in December 2014.

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-- Kate Mather

twitter.com/katemather

Image: A still from the video under investigation. Credit: KTLA News

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