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Travesty of justice: Texas judge William Adams is back on the bench

November 15, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
Bad news for children in Aransas County, Texas: Judge William Adams is back on the bench.

Adams is the family court judge who became infamous last year when his daughter posted a YouTube video of him beating her with a belt back in 2004 for illegally downloading music from the Internet. The girl, Hillary Adams, was 16 at the time of the beating. She secretly set up the video camera because her father made a habit of hitting her and his behavior had been escalating. She uploaded the video last November with a caption urging people to never reelect her father to public office.

The YouTube video is extremely disturbing. In it, the judge hits the girl close to 20 times with the belt on her legs, back, arms and buttocks, tells her he has to "beat her into submission" and threatens to "spank her on her f---- face" if she doesn't lie down and take it. The girl's mother Hallie Adams joins in, but seems to be trying to calm the judge down by punishing the girl herself, less severely. Hillary Adams, who has cerebral palsy, told media that she had bruises all over after the beating and she had a hard time walking afterwards. When she showed the bruises to Daddy Dearest, he allegedly said "Good."

Hallie and William Adams later divorced and they are now battling over custody of their younger daughter, who is now 11. At one point there was an order in place restricting his visits with the little girl unless her mother was present, according to the Corpus Christi Caller Times. Hillary Adams told the New York Times that their father forced her little sister to attend an adult gym because he thought she was "a fat "f--- pig." Judge Adams spent some time in drug rehab a few years back to the kick a drug habit, according to the Corpus Christi Caller Times.

Anyone who has seen that YouTube video would agree that Adams shouldn't have unsupervised visits of any kind with his minor daughter until he's agreed to go to anger management and parenting classes and come to the understanding that his earlier behavior was abusive. But Adams still doesn't think he was doing anything wrong. He can't be prosecuted for child abuse for beating Hillary because the statute of limitations has passed. He was suspended with pay for a year, giving him a nice long vacation. But a few months ago the state's Commission on Judicial Conduct let him off with a slap on the wrist – a public warning – and his suspension was lifted, letting him get back to work hearing family court cases yesterday, according to CNN.

I'm reminded that Texas is also one of the few states, mostly in the South, that still allow corporal punishment in public schools. Principals bruising kids with school paddlings is business as usual in some school districts there. The South in general has a problem with abuse of this sort. There was a story out of Florida last month about horrific abuse of foster children at unregulated Christian schools in that state. The state allows an exemption for religious schools and homes that lets them practice corporal punishment and other forms of abuse on children at these schools with impunity.

But no state in the union is totally immune from this sort of abuse of children. What does it say about this country that we continue to allow this sort of thing to continue, much less allow the abusers to hold positions of power over vulnerable children?


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