By Chris Furguson
On June 22, 2012, former IID Division 5 director Anthony Sanchez was charged with suspicion of corporal injury to a child and child abuse by the Imperial County District Attorney Gilbert Otero.
The first charge, suspicion of corporal injury to a child, said that Sanchez inflicted “cruel and inhuman corporal punishment and injury, resulting in a traumatic condition, upon the child.”
The second charge, child abuse, alleged that Sanchez permitted “the person and health of said child to be injured and did willfully cause and permit said child to be placed in such situation that his/her person and health was/were endangered.”
The charges are the lastest development in a saga for the disgraced former director who was caught on video spanking his stepson with a belt earlier in the month.
If found guilty on the two counts, Sanchez could face up to six years in prison apiece.
The charges stem from a video filmed by Heber resident Oscar Lopez that showed Sanchez spanking his stepson with a belt for, what was believed at the time, refusing or failing to catch a ball.
The video, which was posted on YouTube, was later turned over the Imperial County Sheriff’s office. Immediately after the video spread over the internet, calls for Sanchez’s resignation and other threats followed. After a couple of days, the Sheriff’s office arrested Sanchez under felony child abuse charges.
This led to the charges filed last week. Sanchez is due to be arraigned on July 10th.
Some in support of Sanchez, including attorney Ryan Childers, say that because of Sanchez’s position within the community, that the District Attorney is attempting to make an example out of the former director.
Childers hoped that judge for the July 10th arraignment would take into account Sanchez’s public service and lack of criminal record into account and lower the charges accordingly.
The child’s maternal grandfather, Terry Grammar, also said that the child in question suffers from ADHD and sometimes only responds to a spanking.
Sanchez’s resignation also created a deadlock within the rest of the Imperial Irrigation District’s board of directors. Sanchez had been part of a three-person voting block with directors Stella Mendoza and John Pierre Menvielle in philosophical opposition to directors Matt Dessert and Jim Hanks.
While the Imperial County Board of Supervisors could have appointed a director after Sanchez’s resignation, they chose to follow the request of the IID and hold a special election this November for the seat.
Sanchez represented parts of Calexico in addition to Heber and Holtville.