Texas officials have confirmed that sheriffs are investigating a county judge, after he admitted to beating his disabled daughter with a leather belt.
Video of the abuse, which has gone viral on the internet, shows what his own daughter says is a beating she received in 2004.
Hillary Adams claims that she uploaded the video onto YouTube and that the man in the video is her father, William Adams, a county judge who often oversees cases involving families and children.
William Adams has responded to the furore, saying he lost his temper while disciplining Hillary for illegally downloading music from the internet.
"In my mind, I haven't done anything wrong other than discipline my child, after she was caught stealing, and I did lose my temper, but I've since apologised. It looks worse than it is," William Adams said.
Miss Adams, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was 16 at the time of the incident, and says she has posted the video to help her move on.
"Waiting this long to publish it has enabled me to look at it with hindsight, and not be so caught up in the passion of the moment - and I think we do, my mother and I, we need to try and move on past the anger and just concentrate on getting counselling and help," she said.
A Texas district attorney has asked police to investigate the video and although a statute on limitations might prevent criminal charges, the incident could lead to Adams' removal from the bench.