This Is Supposed to Help?

Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams spoke out through his lawyer today, questioning his daughter’s motives for releasing a video that amassed millions of hits on YouTube, sparked a national debate about child discipline, and thrust his family’s personal turmoil into public scrutiny.

Corpus Christi Caller, 3 November 2011. Here‘s the PDF of the letter.

Perhaps Hillary Adams should explain, if she felt she was raised by a tyrannical father, a claim shared with no one until five years after adulthood, why she insisted on living with her father and not her mother from the time of her parent’s divorce, until she moved out on her own. Hillary Adams has been living on her own for some time, and has been an adult for almost six years, so why post the video in late 2011?

I dunno.

I guess an answer to that question would require Hillary to reveal: how long before the date of the video had he been abusing her like that? Because if this was a one-time incident, then maybe he’s right; maybe he wasn’t a tyrannical father; maybe he just had one bad day. (Not bloody likely.) If this was a common occurrence in the Adams household, then I am not sure William Adams wants the world to hear the real answer to his question. Maybe her mother was even worse than him? Maybe abused children aren’t the best judges of what’s in their best interest? Or maybe he had Hillary convinced that he loved her and she deserved all the abuse he heaped on her, until after she had moved out, became independent, and realized what an asshole he had been all along?

William Adams’s response to the video is typical of a sociopath: when caught doing wrong, he tries to make himself out to be the victim. His argument is essentially, “don’t look at what I did; look at what she did. She’s a spoiled brat who revealed a damaging videotape because she didn’t get her way.”

Some suckers will buy it. Even here, some of my commenters have asked what the girl’s motivation was. Assume that she is a spoiled brat who ruined her father because he threatened to take the Benz away. So what? Does that mitigate in any way Adams’s conduct? Let’s assume that Adams’s daughter grew up to be an utter shit. Does that make Adams’s conduct better? Or does it make it worse?

Releasing the videotape was harsh. Beating Hillary with a belt was also harsh. William Adams is a grownup with a law license; he can defend himself and hire a lawyer to write deflective letters to the press for him, making him out to be the victim. Hillary was sixteen years old and Adams was the one human being who should have made her safe. I judge the beating to be harsher than the release of the videotape. I suppose that there are probably those who disagree, and sympathize with William Adams. (If you are one of those who think that revealing the abuse is worse than committing it, please do not reproduce.)

But if Hillary is a shit, what made her a shit? William Adams did. Her father. The one who raised her. The one who beat her. The one who betrayed her.

That’s a problem with blaming your kids: you are partly responsible for what your kids have become, and sometimes lines can be drawn from your conduct to your child’s behavior: a parade of nasty pathologies are attributed to childhood physical abuse.

Maybe he scarred her for life, or maybe she’s just vengeful, but William Adams did a bad thing, putting himself, without realizing it, at the mercy of his adolescent daughter. Rather than blame her for his predicament he should just admit that he was wrong, and take it like a man.

Were I representing Adams, he would have written something like this:

Hillary has brought to public light a terrible family incident. I have long regretted my shameful actions that day, and hoped that Hillary had forgiven me. But I do not fault her for bringing the incident to light seven years later: some betrayals are too great to be easily forgiven, and a parent should never treat his child like I treated her that day. I love my daughter very much, I am very proud of the strong woman that she is growing up to be, and I will do whatever can be done to repair my relationship with her. While I deserve whatever punishment or vilification I receive for this, my wife and young child do not. I hope that the media and the public will respect my family’s privacy.

But either William Adams is getting bad advice from his lawyer, William A. Dudley, or he is not heeding good advice. Adams (or Dudley) writes: “Those investigations will require answers to many questions raised by the media and public and for which no appropriate forum has been chosen to date.” To the contrary, the appropriate forum has been chosen by default: he avoided prosecution because of the statute of limitations and the Commission for Judicial Conduct is unlikely to find itself in possession of a backbone, and so this—the court of public opinion—is it. To the pain!

Adams (or Dudley) also writes, “The public may ponder what consideration Hillary Adams gave her little sister before subjecting the entire family to world-wide microscopic scrutiny, and permanent consequences.” Maybe the beatings haven’t started yet—maybe beating Hillary was about a pedophile taking out his frustrations on the off-limits object of his lust, and maybe her little sister hasn’t started causing that stirring in William Adams’s loins yet—but my guess is that Hillary saved her little sister a beating or two. Let’s not ponder that. Instead, let’s ponder what consideration William Adams gave Hillary before subjecting her to a beating.

11 responses to “This Is Supposed to Help?”

  1. Good post; I found his letter appalling. It was worse than no response – no response would leave us wondering. His actual response seemingly touched on every topic under the sun except one – the suitability and appropriateness of his behavior.

    We rightfully castigate folks in the political sphere for responding to the outing of their foibles with { they other side does worse | what’s your motivation in bringing that up | I need to get back to the important work of governing }. Yes, yes, yes…but DO YOU HAVE AN EXPLANATION FOR THAT SACK OF CASH IN YOUR FREEZER?

    It’s even worse when we’re not dealing with a sack of cash, but an actual beaten child.

    Responding with “I question the timing of the release of the video” makes it clear that he’s a psychopath – he clearly doesn’t even realize that that is an utterly unresponsive, irrelevant tack to take.

  2. “But if Hillary is a shit, what made her a shit? William Adams did. Her father. The one who raised her. The one who beat her. The one who betrayed her.”

    ,,,and if he can’t admit to his abuse, then he doesn’t love his daughter as he claims by blaming her and by betraying her even further. -If- he can come to that epiphany, admitting what he did wrong will become easier …because he must. And then he’ll have to take his lumps, as he would teach her to do, by becoming an example, as her father. That will be the telling point; whether he is a psychopath or just another miserable sinner. If the latter, then he’ll hope for redemption at some unforeseen point in the future, by some equally unforeseen agency. THAT defines a leap of true faith to come clean and admit actual guilt. Been there, done that. It wasn’t immediately easy.

    I truly hope he comes to this point soon, but it’s all too human to be frightened as well. I guess he’ll lay awake at night wondering what Judge will judge him or what Defence Attorney will represent him?? But, you’re right Mark. He HANDED her the stick to beat him with. Dumb. , Ric

  3. I have no idea what religion, “Judge” Adams may or may not partake in and I care not. What I DO, however care about, are some comments made to me by – (let’s just say people) comments that go pretty much like the following script and backed up by the Holy Bible to boot: ” Well the world is going to he’ll in a hand basket when a parent can’t discipline their own damn kid the way the Bible teaches ~ like the 10 Commandments where God tells the kids to “Honor thy Mother and Father” ~ Then the one we were all brought up with: ” Spare the Rod and you’ll Spoil the Child! ” .

    If you care to watch the tape again listen to the “good” Judge in anger TELL his Daughter…” I will make you submit ! “. But, how many have ever heard the comments so apply put by the listed author as much as the two previous ones just mentioned.

    Psychologists tell us that depression is merely anger turned inward and trapped. Well Daddy Dearest maybe now – quite possibly aver years of therapy – it’s your child’s time to remind you what you never learned listed below:

    Judge Larry Standley

    ?In two closely related New Testament verses, fathers are given these instructions: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath; but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6.4); “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged” (Col. 3.21).
    ?While much is said and written about the need for fathers (parents) to properly train their children in the spiritual realm, as per Eph. 6.4, it seems that much less is taught about the need for dads to refrain from provoking their children to extreme anger.

    [-Roger D. Campbell]

      • Mr. Bennett,

        To borrow a phrase sometimes made to blog posters made by the owner/domain manager of the twice honored A.B.A. #1 Blog in Criminal Law….”Defending the People”: Mark, you obviously didn’t understand the very clear meaning of my post. 🙂


        • Oh, I understood it. I even edited it to make it clearer. But the maybe-this-guy-calls-himself-something-other-than-a-Christian bit was an unnecessary politically-correct distraction. Maybe I should have just edited it out.

  4. A lot of the people I talk to have said “Aw, I took beatings like that when I was a kid!” but I don’t think they realize the that, if it was them standing in front of a judge with evidence like that against them, they’d be locked up faster than you could say ‘get the belt’.

  5. I felt sick watching only a very short amount of this video & I turned down the sound before I turned off the video. This is not discipline. This is not teaching her. This is abuse.

    When I saw it early after the posting, I posted it on my FB because I do not think this man should be sitting in judgment of others. He is clearly reactive – not a good trait for a man sitting in judgment of others.

    About the daughter and her motives – who cares? Her motives do not change his actions. She could be a bad kid who deserves some kind of punishment but this is over the top. And, since she set up the video, it makes you wonder how many times he has done this when it was not recorded. If she posted it because he was taking her car away, so what? Yes, she is vindictive. But that does not mean he did not beat her.

    As far as choosing to stay with him rather than go with mom, how many time have we heard about how people stay with their abusers? Their need to win their love? etc.

    I watched a short clip of him being questioned. He does not seem embarassed or apologetic but he is definitely sorry – a sorry excuse for a father and sorry that everyone has now seen what he put his family through.

  6. I will tell you why it took so many years for her to finally come clean & tell the world what she had endured. I spent many years trying to win the approval of an abusive parent, even chose to live with him because I thought if I was just good enough maybe I would deserve to finally be loved, it took well over 15 yrs after I moved out before I realized that no matter what I did it would never be good enough because the problem didn’t lie within myself, it was his problem. The response most likely came from someone who is also abusive that accepts that this behavior is okay. It is sad but most times when a child is removed from a home by police or child protective services, the parent they scream & reach for most times is the abuser.

Leave a Reply to Judge Larry Standley Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.