"The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Wednesday that the women known as the "San Antonio 4" be declared innocent and exonerated. Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh, Cassandra Rivera and Anna Vasquez were convicted in 1997 of attacking Ramirez’s nieces, ages 7 and 9. The girls were bound and sexually assaulted and their lives were threatened if they told anyone, authorities said. After being tried and convicted in 1997, the women were sent to prison. Rivera was paroled in 2012, but after new evidence came to light, the other three women were released on bail in 2013 with the help of the Innocence Project of Texas. "They are innocent. And they are exonerated. This court grants them the relief they seek," according to the ruling."
See also 'Slate' story - Four San Antonio lesbians wrongly convicted of child abuse have finally been exonerated - by June Thomas - at the link below; "
SUB-HEADING: "At least four Thanksgiving meals will be unambiguously celebratory this year: On the eve of the holiday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the Latina lesbians known as the San Antonio Four are innocent and exonerated."
GIST: "In 1994, Kristie Mayhugh, Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, and Anna Vasquez were accused of aggravated sexual assault on a child; by 1998, they’d been convicted of the crime. As Linda Rodriguez McRobbie explained in a 2013 Slate piece, the case was a product of “a weird, panicked time in recent American history, when the word gay or lesbian was too often conflated with pedophile.” Despite inconsistencies in the accusers’ stories, and evidence of overt and coded homophobia in the women’s trials, all four ended up behind bars. Each of the women served more than a decade in prison. After one of the accusers recanted her accusation, and an expert whose evidence had contributed to the convictions declared that the scientific basis of her medical claims had since been debunked, the women received early releases: Vasquez in 2012 and the rest in 2013. Still, until Wednesday they still had convictions on their records and were living with the possibility that they might be sent back to prison. In mid-October, Investigation Discovery aired Southwest of Salem, Deborah S. Esquenazi’s documentary about the case and the women’s continuing struggle for exoneration. In one of its most infuriating scenes, Judge Pat Priest, who presided over the initial trials, refused to declare the women innocent—even after a key witness said that she had lied under oath and evidence that was used against them was proved false..........On the morning of Nov. 23, 2016, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals declared, “They are innocent. And they are exonerated. This court grants them the relief they seek.” After nearly 20 years suffering the life-ruining consequences of a gross miscarriage of justice, the San Antonio Four can finally plan for the future.
Investigation Discovery will re-air Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 9 a.m. EST."
See Reuters story at the link below: "The four maintained their innocence and their supporters have slammed testimony presented by the state's star medical witness at trial, pediatrician Nancy Kellogg.
Kellogg testified about what she said were physical injuries inflicted upon the girls as part of satanic rituals that she said were prevalent among some lesbians. Kellogg later retracted her testimony and agreed with defense claims that there were no signs of physical abuse, the appeals court said. Other witnesses in the original trials also recanted their testimony. The convictions in Texas were part of a national trend in the 1980s and early 1990s triggered by sensational accusations of satanic rituals and the sexual abuse of hundreds of children at a California preschool in what was known as the McMartin case.The case, then dubbed the most expensive criminal trial in U.S. history, ended with no convictions."