"Clearly a crime was committed right there on TV," said Derek Champagne, DA of Franklin County, near Lake Placid.
"I'm obviously outraged that the first time I see what would appear to clearly be child abuse ... in our own backyard is on a national news program," he told The Post Monday.
The Franklin County DA and the New York State Bureau of Criminal Investigation are conducting a joint investigation into the shocking beating of a young teenager captured on video and broadcast last Friday on "Primetime Live" in a Diane Sawyer feature about the the difficulties stepfamilies endure.
The family — identified as Lynn and Joe Nelson, his 15-year-old daughter, Kyle, and Lynn's three younger children — are at the center of a storm of outrage from viewers who are upset that the beating was apparently not reported to authorities.
The beating was recorded by fixed cameras the family allowed ABC News to install in their home in rural Vermontville, N.Y.
"From a moral aspect, it's unconsciousable that someone can watch [this] and not contact my office or the appropriate authorities," Champagne said.
State troopers reported receiving "hundreds" of phone calls from viewers after the show aired.
In a statement released Monday by ABC News, Kyle Nelson said that she "wants everyone to know that she loves her father very much, that this unfortunate incident is not characteristic of their relationship."
The controversy has grown so strong that the family appeared Tuesday with Sawyer on "Good Morrning America."
The incident was recorded sometime in late 2002 or early 2003, the network says. The tapes were not collected until some time later.
Champagne says that there is a possibility that the statute of limitations may have run out as a result.
"And if that's the case," he says, "I'm going to search for criminal liability, culpability or responsibility on the part of people who knew about this conduct and didn't do anything about it."
"While we felt the incident in question was disturbing, it was the only scene of physical punishment in the hundreds of hours of footage that ABC News reviewed," network news officials said in a statement Monday. "There was no other indication that Kyle or the other three children were in physical danger."
Kyle has since moved out and lives with her grandparents.