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Ex-Imperial Valley official taped whipping stepson gets probation

A former director of the Imperial Irrigation District who was charged with felony child abuse after being filmed whipping his stepson with a belt has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and placed on three years' probation.

Anthony Sanchez was also ordered to do 50 hours of community service and enroll in an anger management class under a ruling this week by an Imperial County Superior Court judge. Sanchez pleaded guilty to a charge of child endangerment.

The case caused a national furor after the video, shot from a second-story window by Sanchez's neighbor in the community of Heber, was posted on YouTube and went viral. Sanchez then resigned from the water district's board of directors, an elected post, where he was serving his second four-year term.

Sanchez was apparently angry because the boy, who appears to be about 8, was unable to catch and throw a ball proficiently.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Heather Trapnell told the Imperial Valley Press that her office considers the sentence to be fair because "the most important thing to us is that he learns that this is not appropriate behavior."

Sanchez's attorney, Ryan Childers, told the paper that his client is pleased that he will not face jail time but that "his life has been changed in a way he never will be fully able to repair."

--Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: A still from the video that led to Anthony Sanchez facing criminal charges. Credit: KTLA

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