A Texas judge who was secretly videotaped lashing his teenage daughter with a belt 17 times won't face charges because the beating took place too long ago, the Rockport Police Department told the Associated Press on Thursday.
Aransas County Court-at-law Judge William Adams could have been charged with causing injury to a child or assault if the video had come out within the 5-year statute of limitations, Rockport Police Chief Tim Jayroe told the AP. But the video, made in 2004, is seven years old.
His daughter, Hillary Adams, uploaded the video to YouTube days ago, where it has generated nearly 2.7 million page views and more than 87,000 comments -- most of them condemning his conduct.
Adams, 51, has temporarily stepped aside from his post -- which includes hearing child-abuse cases -- while authorities conduct an investigation. He told local media that the beating is "not as bad as it looks on tape" and added: "In my mind, I haven't done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing."
Late in the day, he issued a statement in which he accused his daughter, now 23, of posting the video because he was reducing her financial support and taking away her Mercedes, the AP reported.
Hillary Adams said Thursday morning that she had released the video now because she'd finally had enough. In an interview with Matt Lauer on the "Today" show, she said that "the disputes and the harassment were escalating, and finally it was just the straw that broke the camel's back." She added: "I told him I had the video and he brushed it off. ... He didn't seem to think anything of it, and basically dared me to post it."
The video has gone viral, eliciting outrage from around the globe and sparking debate about when corporal punishment and discipline go too far.
In the video, William Adams is cursing at his then-16-year-old daughter and using a belt to whip her for illegally downloading music and games.
Hillary Adams told Lauer that she had set up the video camera on her dresser to capture the discipline that routinely occurred in the household.
"It did happen regularly," she said. "I waited seven years [to release it] because back then I was still a minor and living under his roof, and releasing it then, I don't know what would have happened to me, my mother, my little sister. So waiting until today, seven years later, has allowed me pull away and distance myself from the consequences."
Texas judge's daughter says he 'dared' her to post beating video
Video of Texas judge whipping daughter goes viral
Judge William Adams beats daughter for using the Internet
-- Connie Stewart and Rene Lynch
Photo: Aransas County Judge William Adams in an undated handout image. Credit: Aransas County / Associated Press