It's a video so horrifying, it's almost impossible to watch in its entirety. A father takes a belt to his teenage daughter while screaming, cursing, and threatening to move his assault to her face. Now for the truly terrifying part: the girl has cerebral palsy and research by Gawker seems to confirm the dad pictured is William Adams, a judge running for re-election in Aransas County, Texas.
This guy actually rules on child abuse cases as part of his job, and now he's accused of beating his kid over some Internet downloads! Suddenly makes the sanctity of our justice system seem a little tarnished, doesn't it?
Uploaded to YouTube late last month by a girl claiming to be Adams' daughter Hillary, the video was verified by people who know the family. Not surprisingly, it's become the focus of a campaign to keep the incumbent from reclaiming his position of authority in the southeastern Texas county. Whether they're successful or not actually matters little if the police can verify the video as Adams (beyond what Gawker has done) and assess whether a crime was committed.
At this point, people would be wise to remember these are still allegations. But if he is indeed the person beating this child, and it is deemed assault, Adams' ability to serve as a judge would likely be revoked. Texas law prohibits convicted felons from elected office unless they've been pardoned for their actions.
It's hard to say, but the fact that this video is out there, as disgusting as it is (I couldn't watch to the end, to be honest), is good news. It means that the perpetrator can be punished for his actions.
What I find 10 times scarier even than this is that I can't imagine how many other people in a position of authority such as a judge have similar skeletons in their closet that haven't been released onto the Internet. If this is truly Adams' daughter, she's one brave girl. She's successfully leashed the often mercurial power of the Internet to fight her abuser. People on Reddit, Gawker, and now The Stir are standing up to say it's not OK for a dad to do this to his child.
But how many people have this kind of Internet savvy? Heck, how many have this kind of proof? We look to our justice system to protect the innocent, but when its members are abusing them in their own homes, it's hard to trust they can do that.
Does the Adams case make you more wary of the criminal justice system? Check out the video -- if you can stomach it -- and tell us what you think:
Image via steakpinball/Flickr