Imperial Irrigation District director arrested on child abuse

Imperial Irrigation District director arrested on child abuse charges

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El Centro-The video started a controversy online and made national news.

The video shows the California elected official whipping his stepson with a belt after he failed to catch a baseball.

"Our agency determined that the male subject is 34-year old Anthony Sanchez of Heber, California," Lieutenant Scott Sheppeard of Imperial County Sheriff's Office said.

Neighbor Oscar Lopez secretly shot the video Wednesday from inside his house.

"Once he started belting him, I didn't know what to do," Lopez said.

The video shows the boy dropping the baseball, then Sanchez hitting him with the belt before Lopez starts shouting to stop.

"He then confronted me, asking me if I knew who he was," Lopez said.

Lopez said he posted the video of Sanchez, who is a board director for the Imperial Irrigation District, on Facebook and Youtube then gave it to authorities.

Sheppeard said he has never seen a case of this nature caught on tape.

"It is not necessarily the video standing. It's the information obtained through witnesses, through the victim and through the investigation." he said. "We were able to establish probable cause for the arrest."

ICSO said Sanchez voluntarily turned himself in Friday afternoon.

They said Sanchez was booked for one felony charge of child abuse.

Sanchez's attorney, Ryan Childers said people who watch the video should not jump to conclusions.

"What I would caution people is not to rush to judgement and lets allow law enforcement to do their job and conduct a full thorough investigation," Childers said.

Childers said authorities confirmed that the 10-year old boy did not have any injuries.

He said Sanchez's stepson is currently out of the state.

"His wife and stepson are from Alabama. This is a trip that had been scheduled as of April this year and it was just a coincidence that they flew out the morning of this story breaking," he said.

The child's grandparent's released a statement regarding the incident:

We are a family that believes spanking a child serves its purpose well, as many other Americans. The video may seemed inflammatory but as I saw it, and knowing who Anthony is, the behind is always his target. Men who beat their children don't care where the spanking lands. If he is guilty he is only guilty of excessive spanking and should have seen that the remedy was not working.

Sanchez's bail was set at $100,000.

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