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California official accused of hitting boy with belt when he drops ball

TODAY's Lester Holt speaks to the grandfather of a little boy who was whipped with a belt by his stepfather in their yard, an incident caught on video.

A California irrigation district official was arrested after a YouTube video was posted allegedly showing him hit his stepson with a belt after the boy failed to catch a ball.

Anthony Sanchez, a director of the Imperial Irrigation District, was arrested Friday afternoon on suspicion of felony child abuse after turning himself in, the Imperial Valley Press of El Centro reported. He posted bond of $100,000 and was released.


Imperial County sheriff's officials told the Press that they were alerted early Thursday to a video showing Sanchez throwing a ball to his stepson, then hitting the boy with a belt. The incident allegedly occurred on Wednesday.

Sanchez's lawyer, Ryan Childers, said that Sanchez had cooperated with investigators, the Press reported. Childers said he was confident that the District Attorney's Office would not charge Sanchez with such a serious crime.

Sanchez was elected to the irrigation district's board of directors in 2006 and reelected in 2010, according to biographical information on the district's website. Imperial County is in far southeastern California.

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