Texas judge in beating video says he agreed to ‘step aside’

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A Texas judge who appeared in an Internet video beating his teenage daughter issued a statement saying he agreed this week to be suspended temporarily with pay, noting there has yet to be a ‘finding of fault or wrongdoing.’

The Supreme Court of Texas, in an order posted online Wednesday, said Judge William Adams ‘voluntarily agrees to a temporary suspension from office, with pay’ and that Adams ‘does not admit guilt, fault, or wrongdoing’ for his actions in the video.

Adams, an Aransas County court judge, released a statement to The Times through his lawyer William Dudley on Wednesday saying the suspension resulted from a joint motion he offered with the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct to deal with fallout from ‘the dissemination to the public of a family disciplinary event,’ a reference to the video the commission is investigating.

The statement said Adams agreed to ' ‘step aside’ and allow for a visiting judge to maintain the Aransas County Court of Law daily docket and preside over pending cases.’


Adams had been overseeing family case law, often deciding whether parents were fit to raise their children.

The statement noted that Adams’ suspension is ‘neither a fault sanction imposed by the Texas Supreme Court following an adversarial hearing, a finding of fault or wrongdoing by the commission, or admission of fault or wrongdoing by Judge Adams.’

In the video, the judge struck his older daughter, Hillary Adams, then 16, repeatedly with a belt, cursing and demanding that she comply with the punishment as his then-wife looked on and at times assisted. Hillary Adams, now 23, posted the video on YouTube last month, saying she secretly recorded it in her bedroom in 2004 after her parents caught her downloading music illegally.

Since it was posted online, the video has been viewed more than 6 million times.

Prosecutors have said the five-year statute of limitations for pursuing charges against Adams in connection with the beating has expired. But the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct, which could remove Adams from the bench, was still investigating Wednesday, a spokeswoman said.

‘It is important to preserve the integrity of all judges in the State of Texas, to promote public confidence in the judiciary, and to encourage judges to maintain high standards of professional conduct,’ commission Chairman Jorge Rangel said in a statement posted on the commission’s website.

Adams has been fighting for visits with his 10-year-old daughter with his ex-wife, Hallie Adams. Earlier in the month, a judge placed a temporary restraining order on Judge Adams, barring him from being alone with the girl. A ruling was expected Wednesday. Hallie Adams’ lawyer, Brett Pritchard, did not return calls Wednesday.


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--Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Houston