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Neighbor: I heard boy getting spanked for 15 minutes

Posted at 3:08 PM, Jun 12, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-12 15:10:44-04

SAN DIEGO, Ca. (KGTV) -  The neighbor who posted a video online that seemed to show a government official in San Diego beating his young stepson is talking about the ordeal. 

Oscar Lopez told KGTV's Michael Chen that he grabbed his camera and started shooting video when he spotted his neighbor whipping his stepson with a belt in between the tosses of a baseball. 

Lopez still cannot believe what he saw unfold over a 15-minute period.

"I could hear he was getting spanked time and time again," said Lopez. "Over and over. It only got progressively worse." 

That's when Lopez said he couldn't take it anymore and started banging on the window. Lopez did get the man's attention and exchanged words with him, before running outside. However, by that time, the man and child had gone into the house.

Lopez next posted video of the incident online. Soon after, the head of Imperial County's Water District, Anthony Sanchez , was arrested on felony child abuse charges. 

Sanchez's lawyers argue that the boy was not hurt, but was being disciplined for acting out and that "spanking is not against the law" in California.  

However, neighbors do not think the alleged beating was an isolated incident.

"I always thought someone was wrong," said Jacquelyn Lemus, who lives across the street from Sanchez.

In fact, she said she noticed odd behavior as Sanchez was driving his stepson to school over the last few months.

"He would pull the kid, he would tell him 'get in the car.'  The kid was like, 'No, I don't want to get in the car with you.' He's like 'get in the car!' He would pull him, hit him, throw him in the car," said Lemus. "I was like, ok, he's kinda crazy."

Lemus said she is very sorry she did not call police when she witnessed the what happened.

Once Sanchez made bail, he resigned his post. He is now free on $100,000 bond and will likely appear in court sometime next week.

An attorney said Sanchez and his family are out of town on a pre-planned vacation.