Imperial Irrigation District Director Anthony Sanchez has resigned from his position.
Sanchez's attorney Bryan Childers said he posted bond Friday night at $100,000.
The Imperial County Sheriff’s Office said Imperial Irrigation District Division 5 Director Anthony Sanchez turned himself over to the authorities and was booked intho the Imperial County Jail Friday afternoon for allegedly whipping a boy with a belt.
The latest as of Friday June 8, 2012 is that Sanchez posted a bond of $100,000 and is soon to be released from jail. The police report will be handed over to the District Attorney's Office for a look at what the appropriate charges should be based on the evidence. So far no court date has been set for Sanchez.
The Imperial County Sheriff's Office began investigating the incident after a witness, who had videotaped and posted the incident to YouTube and Facebook, called at 1:00 am on Wednessday.
The video has since gone viral throughout Imperial County and then the region and much of the country.
Friday afternoon, Lieutenant Scott Sheppeard with the Imperial County Sheriff's Office confirmed the man in the video was 34-year-old Anthony Sanchez of Heber, CA.
Sheppeard added that Sanchez turned himself on Friday at 4:15 pm and has been booked into the Imperial County Jail on felony child abuse charges.
Sanchez's attorney, Ryan Childers, tells News 11 that as of 5:50 pm on Friday, his client is in the process of posting $100,000 bond. He also said Sanchez turned himself in once he heard the charges against him made by the Imperial County Sheriff's Office. The charges they posted were Felony Child Abuse charges, a violation of California Penal Code Section 273(a).
News 11’s Rachel Elzufon spoke with the man who caught the horrifying ordeal on tape.
Oscar Lopez lives behind Sanchez, but says they did not know each other.
Lopez says Wednesday morning, he heard commotion in the backyard and looked outside. Something didn’t sit right with him.
“I didn’t understand why he was playing with him and disciplining him at the same time,” Lopez says. “But, it just didn’t stop.”
Lopez says Sanchez was forcing the boy, who he estimates was about eight-years-old, to throw a football through a tire.
He adds “After a while I noticed the kid didn’t want to throw anymore … he just had no interest in doing it.”
Something didn’t sit right for Lopez, so he grabbed his camera phone, explaining "I started to peek through and I noticed him sitting on the back porch, going through his phone and a belt in the other hand."
Lopez says Sanchez then made the boy play baseball. He says Sanchez threw the ball violently, forcing the boy to dodge out of the way.
Then, Sanchez picked up the belt. Lopez says “it just kept going and going … it just kept going forever.”
Child abuse experts say sadly this happens all too often in the Imperial Valley and it can have long-lasting effects.
Erike Apolinar, with the Center for Family Solutions, says “Can you imagine the long-lasting effects of physical violence that’s being exerted.” He says this type of behavior damages children’s future relationships, creating issues of isolation or pushing the limits.
Apolinar urges anyone who sees or suspects abuse to call 9-11.
Lopez admits he wishes he had called authorities a little bit earlier, but had trouble absorbing what he had seen – and just wasn’t quite sure what to do, saying “I’ve never been in that situation before.”
However, Lopez did not just sit back and record the video. When the whipping began, Lopez wanted Sanchez to know someone was watching. The confrontation is caught on tape.
Afterwards, Lopez tried running downstairs and approaching Sanchez through the fence, but he was inside.
Later, Lopez says he drove by the house and saw the family packing their bags and driving away.
Watching the video, Lopez still gets emotional. The father says “We’re supposed to protect our kids” and doesn’t why anyone would want to see a child in pain.
While Lopez says he is sad a family has been torn apart by this scandal, he hopes people who watch the video realize it’s never okay to hurt a child.
News 11 confirmed that attorney Ryan Childers is representing Anthony Sanchez.
Childers says Sanchez remains in Imperial County and opened up a line of communication with the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office.