The recent video that has been circulating on the Web of Texas Judge William Adams brutally beating his 16-year-old daughter with a leather belt has done more than spark outrage and disgust from members of the online community. It has now sparked a debate on parenting skills and the appropriateness of corporal punishment.
The video runs for about seven minutes and shows then-16-year-old Hillary Adams, who suffers from cerebral palsy, being repeatedly whipped by her father on her legs and back with a belt while he shouts and swears at her to turn over on her bed so he can whip her from behind. At one point her mother joins in, yelling, "You turn over like a 16-year-old and take it!"
"Are you happy?" Adams asks in the video. "Is it fun to disobey your parents? What happened to you Hillary? Once you were an obedient, nice little girl. Now you lie, cheat and steal."
"There is no excuse for this man's actions," wrote one viewer. "The sight of a man whipping his daughter at full strength with a belt is almost beyond words. He should be put in jail. Any charge will do."
While many viewers have expressed sympathy for Hillary and outrage at the Judge Adams and his wife, some have said they do not see anything wrong with the beating and that our society has become too fearful of harshly disciplining children.
"What I see is nothing close to abuse, it was an old fashion father giving an old fashion discipline," wrote one commenter. "I got the same lesson growing up, my father took the belt to me on my backside. All the hits are to your legs and backside, none to the face or chest, just like mine. If this vid is a 'pattern' of abuse then I believe you are truly spoiled."
Another viewer wrote, "As a mother of hard headed, stubborn rebellious teenagers, I can certainly empathize with the parents. Discipline is necessary and the lack of discipline is a result of the issues we have with teens today. There is nothing wrong with spanking. What this judge did is nothing that my mother didn't do to me and I've turned out just fine. No parent should have to be fearful of disciplining their children. After time and time of smart mouthed kids, continued bad behavior, it is a parent's duty to do what they can to correct them."
The Court-at-Law judge, who sits on a county board overseeing the juvenile system and often rules on cases involving children, has spoken out against the video, claiming he did nothing wrong and that it "looks worse than it is."
Facebook pages have sprung up focusing around the issue, with outraged viewers requesting that Adams be removed from his position.
An investigation is currently underway by police at the request of the district attorney to determine if criminal charges can be brought forth.
Rockport Police Chief Tim Jayroe told NBCs the "Today" show that it is often difficult to assess when discipline within a family crosses the line into assault.
"By state law a person has a right to discipline their children to a point, but not to the point that you cause serious bodily injury to a child," he said.